Six three-bedroom units of an apartment complex on Ramona Boulevard were damaged in a two-alarm fire Monday morning.
The Victory Pointe Apartments are a collection of two-story apartments at 6750 Ramona Blvd. The first fire units to arrive saw smoke and flames and asked for more resources to make sure the wind didn't spread the fire to other units.
A total of 40 firefighters were involved in extinguishing the blaze.
There were no injuries, but Jacksonville Fire-Rescue said six adults and 15 children were displaced due to the fire. Red Cross volunteers were helping them with temporary housing and supplies, but it will be up to the Jacksonville Housing Authority to find the victims new apartments.
"My neighbor was banging on my back door saying, 'You've got to get out, you've got to get out. There's a fire in your building,'" tenant Laronda Smith said.
Smith said her daughter wasn't there, luckily, and she's OK but left with next to nothing.
"It's kind of of hard to tell your child two days before Thanksgiving you have nowhere to stay," she said. "We've got to stay at a hotel. Who wants to spend Thanksgiving at a hotel with their child?"
The State Fire Marshal's Office says the fire was caused by an iron left plugged and placed on a bed. Investigators have not completed estimating the cost of the damage, but it could amount to more than $1 million.
"it doesn't appear to be anything malicious, it just appears to be an absolute accident," said Lt. Robby Stephens, of the State Fire Marshal's Office.
In addition to the structure, some of the families say they lost all their belongings, including Christmas gifts already purchased.
Nickya McGowan said she was uncertain about how she would tell her children all their toys, clothes and shoes were gone.
"They don't know. They are in school right now, and I decided just to let them stay in school until I figure out what I'm going to do for the day and for the days to come," McGowan said.
"Christmas, Thanksgiving, only have two days in a hotel, so waiting to see what can happen after that," tenant Yashmak Johnson said.
Police closed Faith Memorial Drive to traffic to allow fire equipment access to the scene.
"It could've happened when both of us were in there," Smith said. "That's why I thank God it didn't. It just made me appreciate what I have even more because I basically lost what I got."
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- As for clothing, McGowan said her children wear girls sizes 7 and 8.
- Johnson's kids wear boys size 5t, girls size 3t, and women's size 7.
- Smith's kids wear boys sizes 6 and 12, and girls sizes 6x and 8.