A fire that broke out in a Denton, TX, apartment complex has left one family stranded and several others with damage repair, according to the Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate NBCDFW.com. The fire, which triggered two fire alarms, erupted just before 3 p.m. Tuesday just three days before Christmas.
The fire got so big that witnesses reported seeing flames shooting from the roof of the building. Eight units were damaged in total, but one was completely destroyed. That unit belonged to Ashley Bean, who lives there with her boyfriend Jarrod Brook and has called the place home for two years.
Bean told reporters that she and Brooks would be homeless right now if it wasn’t for the help and support of family and friends.
“We’re still kind of in shock. I don’t really know what to feel,” said Bean, after seeing the mess Wednesday morning. “It’s definitely been hard, just to wake up and realize there’s nothing there anymore.”
According to investigators with the Denton Fire Department, the tragic situation is believed to have been caused accidentally by the couple. They say a discarded cigarette on the balcony of the couple’s apartment sparked the fire that resulted in about $400,000 in damage.
The couple and others in the apartment complex are lucky in the sense that no one was seriously injured or worse in the fire. Cigarettes that are improperly discarded are a leading cause of fire deaths, which is why every apartment should have at least one smoke detector.
Even the couple’s three cats were able to avoid certain peril by taking refuge in the box spring of the mattress in their bedroom. Bean said the firefighters told her it actually ventilated the air for them and ultimately kept them alive throughout the blaze.
With the help of co-workers and the American Red Cross, the couple has been provided clothes, provisions, and temporary lodging in a nearby hotel.
The unfortunate situation is another solemn reminder to take care when disposing of cigarettes.