Cigarette Causes New Year's Fire At Gulfport Apartments - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/01/04

Cigarette Causes New Year's Fire At Gulfport Apartments

Remnants of the New Year's Eve celebration are scattered all over the small yard of the Grand View Apartments.

However, as the clock struck midnight, a skeleton of the building was all that was left of a place many called home.

"Everybody seen black smoke and started running upstairs, and my mom started screaming and there was like 3 people that brought fire extinguishers up there but they was sitting outside when it started. And her boyfriend ran in the back room. He thought he put it out so they ran outside, and then all of a sudden we seen the back of the building just blow up in fire," said eyewitness Ashley White.

The Gulfport Fire Department attempted to salvage whatever they could of the complex.

"Shortly before midnight, we received a report of a fire in these apartments. Luckily, there was a Gulfport Police Department sergeant on the scene. He was on routine patrol and thought he saw some smoke, so he arrived, he found the residents actually using fire extinguishers to try to put the fire. They thought they had the fire out, they obviously didn't," said Gulfport Fire Department Chief Pat Sullivan.

Two apartments were gutted, and there was major smoke and heat damage throughout the complex.

Fortunately, no one was injured, but now, without water or electricity in any of the apartments, residents are ringing in the year by searching for shelter.

The American Red Cross is putting the families in a motel for three days. After that, the apartment owners say they will also help the families find temporary housing.

By Karla Redditte

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