The Meridian Fire Department says an electrical problem is responsible for starting a fire that nearly destroyed three apartment units.
Daylight helps paint a more clear picture of the damage caused by the fire that happened around 9:30 p.m Tuesday at 3116 Vally Street in Meridian. However, it's the inside where the major damage occurred because of extensive heat and smoke. Some of the residents living in the building tell Newscenter 11 they lost all of their belongings.
"I was devastated because it's the first time I've ever been in a house fire before," Robert Pratt says.
"This gas tank is over here and I was scared that it was really going to do something," nearby resident Rose Johnson says.
Fire investigators say the fire appears to be an accident. Fire marshal Jason Collier says the misuse of electrical extension cords is to blame.
"Yes, it could have been prevented," Collier says. "The use of extension cords is very dangerous, especially if you've got a lot of things plugged in to one cord and one outlet."
Meanwhile, Robert Pratt says he was home at the time of the fire. He tells Newscenter 11 heard a loud bang, followed by someone yelling, "fire." He is handicapped and says thankfully, he made it out alive.
"Well, that's the blessed part about it," Pratt says. "God is good, all the time. I think God that I was able to wake up this morning."
The residents say their main complaint right now is they are not receiving any help from their landlord. The landlord says he is not in a position where he can rebuild the structure or provide any sort of assistance at this time.