GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Fire officials say they found the cause of a devastating Greenville apartment building fire on Thursday.
The fire was limited to one building at Westpointe Apartments off Stantonsburg Road. It contained eight apartments.
Greenville City Fire Marshal Bryant Beddard says the fire started on the bottom floor of the two-story apartment complex building.
Beddard says it was caused by unattended cooking and was determined to be accidental.
Flames were through the roof of the building with much of the roof collapsing.
Beddard says the building received major damage, and that the property manager/owner will work with the insurance company to determine whether or not it is a total loss.
Fire marshal Beddard also added that the Greenville fire department provides free installations of smoke alarms at homes to prevent cooking fires such as this.
Resident Carlos Boyd who said he lives in apartment 6 on the second floor said he was playing a video game when he smelled smoke. Boyd said he then looked out the window, saw smoke grabbed everything he could, and hurried to get out.
Neighbor Sue Greene who lives across the street described the scene, “I could not believe how fast this spread because when I walked down here, it was just right in this one corner, then it was like boom, it exploded.”
The fire spread throughout all 8 units in one of the buildings and made its way to the top, causing the middle of the roof to completely collapse.
Thankfully no one was hurt in the fire, but 14 occupants from all 8 units are now displaced. The American Red Cross is helping them find temporary places to live and funds to get by.
Battalion Chief David Brown said that the fire was mostly out around 6:30 p.m. with crews still hitting hot spots.
Brown said that he was not aware of any injuries, but said that several residents had been displaced.
The Pitt County 911 emergency center director Jimmy Hodges says the Red Cross will be helping the displaced residents for the next 2 to 5 days but he recommends all renters get renters insurance which can help you in a case like this.