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‘Heavy smoke and fire,’ at Chesterfield apartment complex displaces 11

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – An apartment fire has displaced 11 residents at the River Forest Apartments in Chester. Fire Marshals have determined the fire started on the exterior balcony of a third floor apartment as a result of discarded smoking materials.

Fire officials said they responded to the apartment fire Wednesday evening, around 5:22 p.m. in the 5800 block of Quiet Pine Circle. Firemen arrived within five minutes of the start time, said witness Gwyn Griffin. Due to the heavy smoke and fire, it took 24 firefighters and approximately 30 minutes to get the blaze under control.

Apt fire

Chesterfield Fire Battalion Chief Brina Kemp said, "Six apartments were affected by the fire. One apartment with fire and water damage. Then the other five with water damage, and smoke damage."

No injuries were reported which was good news to Faith Gibbons who may spend the next few nights in a hotel.

"One of the neighbors was asleep. She works nights. She was sleeping. So she said she ignored it at first. So it was fortunate enough that she did get out in time," said Gibbons.

Faith Gibbons

Faith Gibbons

One apartment suffered significant fire damage while five other apartments sustained smoke and water damage. The 11 occupants displaced are being assisted by family members and apartment management. The complex has kept the clubhouse open for those affected by the fire. The Red Cross is involved to help find shelter and clothes to those who need it.

Kelly Triplett is a part of the displaced group. She said she rushed home from work when she heard news of the fire to make sure her daughter was safe. "Once i found out my daughter was okay, everything else can be replaced. It's awful, it's bad timing, it's right here at the holidays, but knowing your family is safe is really all that matters," said Triplett.

Fire officials have reminded the public to make sure that all smoking materials are properly extinguished and placed in an appropriate receptacle.