Multiple families are displaced after fire at a Huntsville apartment complex

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Multiple families were displaced Friday morning when a fire destroyed at least four units at Colonial Grande at Edgewater. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

The Huntsville Fire Department said they believe the fire began around 10:00 a.m. We spoke to residents who believe the fire started from a blockage in their chimney. Melissa Jarrell said she started a fire in the fireplace at her friend's apartment when they started to smell smoke.

"I confirmed three times that the flue was open, and I was sitting right in front of the fireplace. No flames, no embers, no smoke ever came from outside of that fireplace," said Jarrell.

Jarrell's friend, Heather Armstrong, said she starts fires in her apartment pretty regularly.

"I'm poor so I try to open the windows and then I do the fires. It's very common, I've always done them. I think something was at the top of my chimney," said Armstrong.

When they evacuated the apartment they found heavy smoke and flames shooting from the roof. Against her better judgment, instead of staying out of harm's way Jarrell ran back in.

"I know better than to go back in, but I have very little left of my child and wanted to make sure I grabbed his diaper bag that's filled with some special possessions," said Jarrell

Jarrell said her baby boy Chance was three months old when he passed away. She said she just couldn't bear the thought of losing her last worldly connection to him.

"There's a burp cloth, there's a very small blanket that has his name monogrammed," said Jarrell.

She successfully and safely retrieved the bag before the flames got too high. While things can always be replaced she is grateful for one last chance at preserving his memory.

Fire investigators have not pinpointed the exact cause of the blaze. The American Red Cross is assisting all families displaced by the fire.