Child playing with lighter causes apartment fire - WNEM TV 5

Child playing with lighter causes apartment fire

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Source: WNEM Source: WNEM

Authorities say a child playing with a lighter caused an apartment fire that displaced more than a dozen families.

"I had to just get them out. The smoke was just so loud in there that I had to get them out quickly and myself,” Beatrice Collier said.

Sunday night, Collier and her family’s lives changed in what seemed like an instant as their apartment went up in flames.

Now, their family and at least a dozen of their neighbors are sleeping in a local hotel after losing their homes.

Collier and her boyfriend, Giovonni Jones, lost everything. The couple’s five children, ages 7, 5, 3, and a set of 4-month-old twins, escaped the fire with just the clothes on their backs.

“I didn't have shoes, they didn't have any shoes, nothing. I just had to get them out the house. I wasn't thinking about grabbing anything but just them,” Collier said.

Firefighters said the fire started in the bedroom where one of the children was playing with a lighter that caught the bed on fire as his brother slept.

“I believe he was in there playing around and set the bed on fire. He ran in there and told me what he did. I was just concerned with getting them out of the house. I wasn't concerned about why, but just getting them out,” Collier said.

Now, the family of seven is still together and stronger than ever as they know they still have each other, while not forgetting about the other families that have also lost their homes.

"To all the families being affected by this I'm praying for them too and hoping that they can get better and they can get back on their feet as much as we can get back on our feet," Collier said. 

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