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Fire forces elderly, disabled residents from Hopewell apartment complex

Posted at 1:17 PM, Jun 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-22 13:17:10-04

HOPEWELL, Va. -- Dozens of elderly and disabled neighbors were forced out of their apartments Monday morning after a fire was reported at the Kippax Place apartments in the 100 block of Kippax Street in Hopewell. The fire was reported at about 6 a.m. Nathaniel Jones said he woke up Monday morning to screaming and smoke.

"My neighbor banged on my door and she was banging and banging and she was like help me my apartment is on fire!” Jones explained. "Everything was smoky. The whole building was filled with smoke."

Jones said his neighbor accidentally started a fire in her apartment. Firefighters made their way to the fourth floor and threw burned items out of the window, starting with a charred mattress.

"The mattress was taken out because that is where the bulk of the fire was," Hopewell Fire Battalion Chief Ronnie Ellis said.

Battalion Chief Ellis emphasized the importance of smoke detectors in every apartment.

"Make sure that everybody has a smoke detector and a good evacuation plan," he said.

Officials said the fire at Kippax Place in 2013 was an accident and so was the fire that destroyed a unit on Monday. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.