‘I’m just starting over with everything’: Mother of 5 loses everything in fire

Published: Jun. 10, 2023 at 6:31 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A mother of five children, ages six and under, says she lost everything after the top floor of a building in the Woodland Crossing Apartment Homes went up in flames Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.

Inside the burning apartment, five children, their mother and their aunt were all sleeping. The mother and renter of the apartment, Brianna Bailey, tells NBC12 that she’s left with nothing as she talks about her experience.

“The fire started around 2 a.m., nobody came to my door until 4 a.m., and by that time, it was already in flames,” Bailey said.

She said she, her children and her younger sister were sleeping in a room together when the fire broke out, but she didn’t wake up to the smell of smoke or the sound of alarms. She said her smoke alarms did work at the time, to her knowledge. She said her stepfather was trying to break the front door open to get to everyone.

“I just so happened to get up to go the bathroom in the midst of that; I heard the door getting beaten down, and I seen it ready to come off the hinges; no smoke alarms went off, nothing went off. We would have still been in there because I’m a heavy sleeper, and I didn’t hear anything.” Bailey recalled.

Later, once firefighters got there and were able to contain the flames, she was allowed back into the apartment to get her belongings.

“They let us go in and…. that’s really when I realized all my stuff was gone. There was a puddle of water; the ceiling is falling in the hallway and over top of my bed in my room,” she said.

She’s currently staying with family and friends and says the Red Cross offered to pay for a hotel until Wednesday. Bailey said she’s thankful for the help, but she’s overwhelmed.

“Now, basically, I’m just starting over with everything … with no job,” she said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Bailey tells NBC12 that the apartment complex plans to put her in another unit.