Dozens of people in pajamas and blankets struggled to stay warm Tuesday morning, as they watched the second fire within a month strike Henrico's Coventry Garden Apartments.
Christmas Day, a fire at 219 Newbridge Circle left 17 people homeless and burned a gaping hole through the roof of the two-story apartment building. Around the corner Tuesday morning, an early-morning fire at 200 Newbridge Circle sent families into below freezing temperatures, as flames climbed the exterior of the building.
"I just got my coat on and ran out," said resident Vicki Wood in an interview Tuesday. "And they put me in the rescue squad car because I was cold."
Henrico fire investigators suspect the latest fire started on the outside of the building, and spread to the second floor and attic when the vinyl siding ignited. Officials stressed at this point, they are not considering the two fires related. A cause for the Dec. 25 incident has not been determined.
Tuesday's fire affected two apartments, and left one person in each unit without a home. Henrico Fire Capt. Jim Mellon said neither apartment is a total loss, but crews had to make holes in some interior walls while they extinguished the flames.
About two dozen firefighters arrived at 6:15 a.m., and took control of the situation in fewer than 20 minutes. Family and friends streamed in and out of the damaged apartments when all clear was given, bringing boxes of clothes and items saved from the ashes.
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