11 displaced after water heater fire in apartment building

The apartment's sprinkler system extinguished the blaze. (Source: NBC12)
The apartment's sprinkler system extinguished the blaze. (Source: NBC12)
Published: Jun. 13, 2018 at 11:33 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2018 at 7:47 PM EDT
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PRINCE GEORGE, VA (WWBT) - A Prince George woman says an issue with her water heater forced her family to run from smoke and flames Wednesday morning.

Eleven people - six adults and five children - had to leave from their homes, but it's thanks to the building's fire suppression sprinkler system that the fire was quickly put out. All three floors of the apartment building suffered water damage, and no one was injured.

"I got my children up for school, and I saw nothing but smoke when they were taking a shower," explained Tasha Powell. "I woke up and I smelled some burning, and I got up and got the kids out and there was a flame coming from up under the door."

Powell says the fire started in her third floor apartment around 6:30 a.m. at Denmark Square at Puddledock Apartments. Firefighters said a water heater caught fire on the third floor.

Powell says just a day before the fire, she had complained to maintenance about a burning smell coming from the water heater.

"Yesterday, I did complain to the office. I thought they had come and corrected the problem, because yesterday, they knocked my breaker off, and when I came back, the breaker was on," said Powell. "I guess they hadn't fixed the problem."

Neighbors say they have been told it could be up to three days for those on the second floor to get back to their homes. Those who live on the third floor, with the most damage, have not been given a timeline. All three floors of the apartment building suffered water damage.

The leasing office of the Puddledock Apartments had no comment about the situation and could not give a timeline of when people can return home.

Fire crews are continuing to investigate what caused the water heater to ignite.

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