HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Twenty-one people -- including one child -- were displaced early Friday after a massive fire at a two story apartment building in western Henrico. The fire has been determined to be caused by improperly discarded smoking materials.
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Firefighters say no injuries were reported in the blaze, which was in the 3200 block of St. Martins Trail near Tucker High School just before 1:45 a.m. This is at the Tuckernuck Trail apartments.
Firefighters arrived in less than four minutes to find heavy smoke and flames coming from a second floor apartment and roof, with the fire spreading to adjacent apartments.
"I just heard this loud popping," said Emily Mitchell who escaped with her fiancee and their dog. "I actually thought I woke up to gun shots, that was my first thought."
People living in 16 units poured out into the cold morning.
"You could see the glow coming from the top; (it) looked like a roman candle in the fourth of July," said fire victim Adam Clarke.
The fire was so intense that "a second alarm was requested, and personnel immediately went into rescue mode, making the evacuation of the victims the priority," the Henrico Fire Department said in a news release.
Officials say it took about an hour and a half for firefighters to get the blaze under control.
The Henrico Office of Emergency Management and the Red Cross are helping the residents who have been displaced.
Twelve of the 16 units impacted by the fire will be uninhabitable, Henrico fire officials said.
Nine animals were also displaced in the fire; one cat died.
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