Fire caused up to $1 million in damage, assistance needed for families

MATTHEWS, NC (WBTV) - The apartment fire that lit up the sky in Matthews Friday night caused between $800,000 and $1 million in damage. That's the latest from the Mecklenburg County Fire Marshal's Office Tuesday morning.

23 families are now homeless and officials say 11 people lost everything. Medic rushed two people to the hospital, one of them with very serious injuries.

Investigators say the flames started with an unattended pot on the stove in a kitchen on the first floor of a building of the Chambers Ridge Apartments in Matthews.

Firefighters in Matthews got the call at about 8:30 Friday night.

They reported heavy smoke and fire upon arrival, and immediately called a second alarm. Witnesses watched as at least two people jumped from several stories up to escape the flames.

Shortly after, a third alarm was called. Members of the Union and Mecklenburg Fire Departments were called in to help fight the flames.

Firefighters called a control time shortly after 10 p.m.

The Red Cross is helping those families who lost their homes. They are helping with temporary shelter, food, clothing and other immediate needs. Volunteers also provided drinks and snacks for first responders at the scene.

A temporary shelter was set up for the families at Butler High School on Matthews-Mint Hill Road.

But now it's time for those families to rebuild. The numbers bear repeating – 23 homeless. 11 lost everything. Of those 11, seven are men and four are females. They range in age from their late teens to early 50s.

Officials say they need personal care items, pillows, blankets, bedding, and toiletries.

If you have specific donations or services that you would like to provide for the families, contact Jennifer Laney, Property Manager for Berkshires of Matthews at 704-847-5156, or Corporal L. Valdes at 704-845-1651.

You can also drop off donations at the Matthews Police Department.

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