4 Units affected in Kannapolis apartment fire - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Officials: Residents jumped from 2nd floor to escape apartment fire

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KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) -

A large apartment fire in Kannapolis left 15 people without homes Thursday evening.

The fire started just after 4 p.m. at the Royal Oak Gardens apartments on Citadel Court, which is off of Concord Lake Road.

Firefighters described seeing heavy flames and smoke coming from the apartments upon arriving at the scene, and quickly went to a defensive attack on the fire, officials told WBTV.

Several people, including children, had to jump from the second story to escape the flames.

Melody Hines told WBTV her sister and her four nieces and nephews were among the residents who jumped to safety.

"She jumped out first and she had them to jump out after her and she caught them, she said.

While they received minor injuries, no major injuries were reported.

Hines said the fire brought back some terrible memories.

"Next week will be the eve of her other daughter that got burnt up in a fire in these same apartments," she said.

15 years ago next Monday to be exact. That's when her eldest niece died in a fire at this very same complex.

Hines' niece, Azaria Williamson recalls the minute she knew something was wrong.

"I smelled smoke," she said.

The five year old and her twin brother had to jump into their mother's arms.

"I was scared," she recalled.

Firefighters later said they believe the fire started on the second floor, though the cause is still under investigation.

Fifteen people, nine children and six adults, were displaced because of the blaze. The American Red Cross of Cabarrus County was called in to assist the families in need.

Officials said the four apartments were a total loss.

Fire officials also told WBTV the apartments didn't have any sprinklers and said that may have contributed to why the fire spread so fast.

They also said the complex was constructed before the code was changed to require apartment communities have sprinkler systems.

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