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Va. Beach tenant out, returned to find apartment & belongings gone due to fire

Posted at 4:33 PM, Dec 28, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Several burned-out structures are all that are left at the Indian Lakes Apartment complex after a fire destroyed a section of the apartments on Sunday.

Damarcus Smith was one of the tenants who lived in those apartments with his daughter.

"I'm feeling sad and lost but I am thankful to be here today,” Smith said.

He said he has lived in the complex since May. They moved in roughly two months before another fire destroyed another set of apartments in the same complex.

Smith added, he was not home at the time.

"I went to Newport News and I got a call saying, 'come back, the building is on fire,’” Smith explained.

New details from the Virginia Beach Fire Department revealed the fire was accidental and was started by fireplace ashes that were not disposed of properly.

24 apartments were impacted, 16 of which are now uninhabitable.

When Smith returned to his apartment, “That's actually what I've seen, the firefighters were here and everything was, like, burnt,” Smith said.

Emergency crews arrived just after 4:30 p.m., and it took about an hour to put out the flames.

On Monday, employees from a local fencing company put up fences around the burnt structure.

"The Red Cross is helping us out right now and we're staying at a hotel for the next day or so,” Smith said.

He says he only has a bag with clothes right now as he stood outside the complex on Monday.

"Other than that, I still have myself so I'm thankful for that,” Smith said.

A GoFundMe was set up for the Smiths, but no other fundraisers are known to be active at this time.