Fire Leaves Albemarle Residents Homeless

By: Marcus Washington
By: Marcus Washington

October 3, 2005

Nearly a dozen families are left without a home, finding shelter in hotel rooms after an early morning fire destroyed their homes.

It was a fire that surprised many residents, causing them to evacuate and leave their security and belongings behind.

"It could have been my apartment, [or] one of the ones above me. It's really close to home," said witness Stacey Roberson. Those are the sentiments of most residents of Abbington Crossing, after an early morning fire left several families homeless.

"Considering I didn't know it happened at the time, how easy would it have been for the apartment beside me to catch on fire [or for] something to come in. It [makes me] very very nervous," commented Roberson.

Around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, firefighters responded to a fire on Manchester Court near Rio Road. Officials say the fire was caused when charcoal from an outdoor grill was improperly disposed. The fire started on the outside patio of a home. Just moments later the fire quickly spread to 5 other apartments.

"[An official] called me at 2:30 and he said, 'there's an apartment fire. Get on it.' So, that's what we did," said Rusty Swinney of the Charlottesville American Red Cross.

The local chapter American Red Cross has stepped in to help the families who have lost everything. They are dedicated to help each and every family affected find a sense of relief in their time of need.

"We talked to the people, made sure they were comfortable, and we have asked them to come in here this morning. We will give them food, clothing, whatever it is that they need," explained Swinney.

Their goal is to bring some of the old feelings of security that were destroyed back a little closer to home.

Only 6 of the 12 apartments damaged actually sustained damage from the fire itself, and no one was injured. Officials at the Red Cross say they will go and inspect the homes to see what each family needs. Those residents have been temporarily placed in hotels. Officials believe the fire caused an estimated $500,000 in damages.

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