REIDSVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — New details are emerging about an apartment fire that left more than a dozen people in Reidsville looking for a place to stay in the middle of the holiday season.
The fire broke out around 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Crestwood Apartments on Price Street.
It forced 14 people to evacuate their homes, including Brittney Gauldin, a mother of a 3-year-old.
“I think today I’m still in shock,” Gauldin said.
Gauldin’s friend Whitney Chambers called her, telling her that her bushes were on fire.
“I was like this isn’t a time to be joking, and she was like no, your bushes are on fire,” Gauldin said.
“I think one of the residents, I’m not sure who it was, threw some water on it or something to try to put it out. That sparked it, and I’m assuming it went straight to the electrical box, from there everything was engulfed in flames,” Chambers said.
At the back of building one in the complex, the burnt electrical box is visible.
Gauldin showed pictures to FOX8, showing her daughter’s bedroom covered in insulation.
Fire officials say improper disposal of smoking materials is to blame for the blaze.
Investigators tell FOX8, a neighbor was outside smoking a cigarette while their child was on the playground nearby. Before heading inside, fire official says he threw the cigarette out on the ground, sparking a pine bush. Eventually causing the fire to spread to the apartments.
“It’s a lot to process. I think today I’m still in shock,” Gauldin said. “It comes and goes. I’ll cry, and then I’m thankful that’s we’re alive. Then I’ll cry over something else that’s burned. Like I said there is nothing that can’t be replaced.”
While crews were on scene, FOX8 saw family after family gathering all that was left of their belongings, as they work to figure out their next steps.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire, and the apartments have not been deemed a total loss.
Some families, including Gauldin’s, say they have already started Christmas shopping, and a lot of what they had was ruined in the fire.
Gauldin has set up a GoFundMe to try to recover some of her losses.