TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) - A child playing with a lighter is being blamed for the biggest fire ever in Trotwood , fire officials announced Friday.
Chief Stephen H. Milliken told 2 NEWS the 2-alarm fire caused $1 million in damages at the Woodland Hills Apartments Thursday evening. Firefighters were forced to call for backup when the blaze flared up after they initially doused it.
Chief Milliken said the fire was not set intentionally.
He said the 7 year old boy accidently lit clothes on fire.
Then the blaze spread, causing more than a million dollars in damages to this building.
The smell of smoke is still in the air and the damage visible, after an evening fire leaves more than 20 Trotwood families without a home.
"This is one of the larger fires that's ever been in the city of Trotwood, the dollar loss is obviously astronomical," said Chief Milliken.
When fire crews arrived, flames were visible and they had to take quick action.
"When the crews made entrance they had very heavy heat, heavy smoke. They were able to locate the fire and in a very short period of time in the process of venting the roof with the ladder companies," said Chief Milliken.
The fire was located in an apartment complex, which had firefighters worried about the flames spreading.
"The way the apartment complex is set up there are two other identical type complexes within approximately 50 feet of these. With the damage of collapse, the amount of fire, the amount of smoke, we evacuated all those complexes too," said Chief Milliken.
Since this fire was so intense, fighting it was difficult.
"The fire bust through the roof and made it very unattainable from the inside. We're not going to risk fire fighters. We had the complex evacuated. You look at it as property is replaceable, people are not."
The chief tells 2 NEWS the child who started the fire will have to undergo a juvenile fire starter program in the area.
The police will also be reviewing the case.
As far as the displaced residents, the apartment manager said they've all been placed in apartments within the complex.
Donations for the 20+ families who lost their homes are being accepted at the apartment office and at Trotwood schools.
Community members are donating money and supplies to the survivors of a fatal fire in Kettering.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory until Saturday at 7 p.m.
After months of construction, the GE EPISCenter will finally open at the new River Park Drive location off Patterson Boulevard.
Sidney fire officials said there may not have been working smoke detectors when an apartment building burned late Thursday night.
Kettering police named their newest officer Thursday in a special ceremony.