An early morning blaze on Howell Court displaces three families - DatelineCarolina

An early morning blaze on Howell Court displaces three families

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Charlie Jones fled his burning apartment after a neighbor woke him up. Charlie Jones fled his burning apartment after a neighbor woke him up.
Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins says the blaze was sparked by a kitchen stove. Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins says the blaze was sparked by a kitchen stove.
By: Madeline Mahon

Three families have been displaced after a small apartment complex caught on fire early Tuesday morning.
It happened on the 2700 block of Howell Court in Columbia. Three of the four apartments were occupied, but no one was injured.

Charlie Jones says he was sound asleep when a neighbor woke him up saying his apartment was on fire.

“I was in a good sleep and thank God they did because if they hadn’t I’d of still been asleep,” Jones says.

Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins says the Columbia Fire Department received a call about the blaze shortly before 1 a.m..

“When fire crews arrived on the scene they had smoke and fire showing from the apartment,” Jenkins says.

Investigators say it appears a kitchen stove sparked the blaze.  The apartment where the fire started was heavily damaged. The other units suffered some smoke and fire damage, including destroyed belongings.

Chief Jenkins is no stranger to tragic events like this one and stresses the importance of buying renters insurance.

“You’ve got to keep in mind when something like this happens, the person that owns the house, owns the apartment is not responsible for your furniture, your clothing, your contents,” Jenkins says.

He says none of the people living in the apartments have renters insurance.

The American Red Cross is helping to take care of the families displaced by the fire, including providing temporary housing.  A damage estimate has not yet been determined.

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