Child plays with lighter, burns down apartment units - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Child plays with lighter, burns down apartment units

Firefighters say a child playing with a lighter caused a damaging fire at Wood Valley Apartments. Firefighters say a child playing with a lighter caused a damaging fire at Wood Valley Apartments.
Firefighters say at least 20 people lost their homes. Firefighters say at least 20 people lost their homes.
Alexandra Washington and Latesha Wright Alexandra Washington and Latesha Wright
Tim Connell Tim Connell
Erica Dukes Johnson Erica Dukes Johnson
THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -  Intense flames spread quickly through an apartment complex in Thomasville, leaving dozens of families without homes. 

Firefighters discovered the fire started when an 8-year-old boy was playing with a lighter.

Residents said they're thankful they got out safely. 

Alexandra Washington's apartment was a total loss and said, “I mean, look at it. There's nothing we can do.  We lost it."

Washington and her neighbor Latesha Wright are in total shock after seeing the aftermath of the fire that started in a bedroom at the Wood Valley Apartment complex.

Property Manager Erica Dukes Johnson said, “We knocked on doors, we got the parents and the children out, we got everybody out.  Terrified, actually terrified.” 

Firefighters said a young boy was playing with a lighter while his mother slept, and caught a bed on fire.  

When firefighters arrived, the flames had nearly taken over the entire second floor of the unit.

Thomasville Fire Marshal Tim Connell said, “They made interior tacks and started doing the searches and found heavy fire running through the attic. The cold conditions of the day and the wind, it did not help out at all.  It was pushing fire through the attic.”

Thomasville firefighters said they were in the middle of a training course with Cairo firefighters when they received the call.  

They said it was that extra man power that helped keep the flames from spreading. 

Fire Marshal Connell said they had 28 firefighters on the scene, more than twice the manpower they'd normally have.  

They were able to control the flames within an hour. 

Washington said, “We lost everything.  But I'm glad everybody is okay.  There's no point sitting around and crying.  Everybody's okay.  We just have to start over.”

The Fire Marshal said no criminal charges are being filed at this time. 

The Red Cross is now working with the displaced families to find them temporary housing. 

Copyright  2015 WALB.  All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly