HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A Christmas Eve fire that forced more than 30 people from their western Henrico apartments Monday night started in Juan Jose Lovo's kitchen.
Lovo said he was cooking a chicken dinner when flames started shooting out of his oven.
Unable to fight the the fire, he said he grabbed his two-year-old son and ran for help.
"I was thinking... [I need to] get out with my boy," he recalled.
Once he brought his son to safety, Lovo said he returned to his apartment to try and fight the fire.
"When I tried to go [back] inside, can't go... the fire was all around inside," he said. "I got out."
Lovo said he lost all his possessions in the fire.
"Everything just got ruined burned," a neighbor said. "It’s just really sad because today is Christmas and they’re supposed to be with family and they have a little kid."
Everyone made it out of their apartments alive.
Henrico firefighters rescued three people.
While Lovo said he lost all his possessions, he was grateful both he and his son are safe.
He said his bosses at Buz and Ned’s, a Richmond-based barbecue restaurant, have offered to help him get back on his feet.
Managers at the Fox Rest Apartments, off Staples Mill Road, were working with families to help re-locate them to empty apartments.
The Red Cross was called to assist at least five people who lost their possessions in the fire.
Henrico Firefighters were called to 4200 block of Balmoral Avenue at about 8:30 p.m. Monday.
"When firefighters arrived they found fire coming from a second floor apartment and thick smoke filling the building," Henrico Fire Capt. Rob Rowley said. "Some firefighters quickly began attacking the fire while others used ladders to rescue three people that were trapped on their balcony, cut off from escape by the smoke. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze and ensure that everyone was out of the building with no injuries to residents or firefighters."