Ash tray on back deck sparked massive Chesterfield fire - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Ash tray on back deck sparked massive Chesterfield fire

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Investigators say smoking materials left in an ashtray are to blame for several homes damage after a fire breaks out in Chesterfield. Fire ripped through one home and caused major damage at three neighboring homes. Those impacted spent the day figuring how to recover from tragedy.

"When I saw it, it was just awful," said neighbor Anselma Lewis.

Viewer video shows the extent and strength of a fire that spread through four homes in the Amherst Subdivision.

"I never seen anything like that. I've never seen a house catch on fire. Never. So I was {in} panic," Lewis said.

"My roof is going to have to be replaced. My attic insulation is now on my second floor covering the beds, covering the floors, covering the bathroom," said Sarah Gaines.

She lives next door to the home where the blaze erupted.

"This was an accident. It's not like he intentionally tried to burn down his house," Gaines said.

The fire also spread to a home directly behind the house where it all started.

"I wasn't expecting it to be this big and this bad," said Cary Hill.

The fire also reached next door to his property - causing minor damage.

"Vinyl siding melted. The shed on the side of the house and the windows looks like it can be easily replaced," Hill said optimistically.

Even though they're all dealing with damage - these neighbors are more concerned with their one neighbor who lost everything.

Lewis, who wasn't affected at all, stepped in as a good neighbor.

"When they ran out, they ran out barefoot, they didn't have any shoes on their feet or nothing….I cooked and gave her some food," she said.

The Red Cross is providing shelter and food to the displaced victims. The other three families who were impacted are able to remain in their homes.

Flames devoured the home on Amherst Ridge Loop in South Chesterfield Thursday afternoon. Crews doused three other neighboring homes to keep the fire from spreading.

Several people were inside the home which caught fire, but no one person was injured.

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