Eight Families Recovering From Wiggins Apartment Fire

Eight families in Wiggins are trying to salvage what's left of their belongings after fire swept through an apartment complex New Year's Eve.

Stone County fire investigator, Wayne Cook, says children playing with matches started the blaze which destroyed two apartments at the "Wiggins Apartments" on McGregor Street.

Six other apartments received smoke and water damage.

"Thank God that nobody got hurt and everybody got out safely," said Dolonda Magee, as she looked up at her burned out apartment.

Magee was at the grocery store when she got word that her upstairs apartment was on fire. She arrived to find flames shooting through the windows.

"I just came back and all my things was just up in flames. I mean it was terrible. Now I see how people that's been burned out really feel," said Magee.

Wiggins interim police chief was patrolling the area Monday afternoon when he saw the smoke.

"And I came over here and fire was coming out of the window. And at that time I realized the danger and started evacuating the building to make sure everybody was out," said Chief Reid Lowe.

Gladiola Jones was napping in her living room when the fire broke out.

"My son walked in though and said, mamma get out, get out. Said the girl's apartment on the back is burning. So I got out and started knocking on the other doors around and getting them people out," said Jones.

We followed Cynthia Armstrong into her upstairs apartment, on the other side of the two most heavily damaged.

Smoke and water caused the most damage in her apartment. Firefighters needed to reach the hot spots through the walls and ceiling.

"I got a lot of smoke damage and water damage. 'Cause the fire was like in the ceiling of mine, so they had to put holes in my ceiling and put the water down there on mine," said Armstrong.

The Red Cross has helped the fire victims with their immediate needs for clothing and shelter.

Residents understand that possessions can be replaced.

"God was good to us. No one was hurt," said Gadiola Jones.

By Steve Phillips