VIRGINIA

Dozens forced out of apartment building after fire

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SPRINGFIELD, Va. (WJLA) - In Fairfax County, 45 people are now without a home after a fire in an apartment building.

The Springfield Garden Apartments on Backlick Road caught fire a little after 10:30 p.m Thursday night. The sign on the door gives some indication of the danger that struck – as well as the fear that followed.

Sarah Gonzales was sleeping when a loud knock at the door at 10:30 p.m. woke her up in a hurry:

"They called to me, 'Sarah, get up get up let's go because the apartment is catching on fire!'"

The fire started at the building next door, and soon, the thick black smoke spread rapidly.

Carla Feirfino heard the screams for help: "A lot of people in the window said, 'Help help go to rescue!'"

When she and the others ran outside, they looked up to a scary sight -- some were dropping children out the window from the second floor.

Adults were waiting below to catch the children safely, while 60 Fairfax County firefighters rushed to the scene. They managed to put out the fire in 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, residents did all they could to stay warm in the bitter, cold night, as power was out in both buildings.

According to the Red Cross, 53 people were impacted and many taken first to a school and then to a nearby hotel for the night.

Investigators call the fire accidental – smoking materials allegedly caught fire on the carpet in the stairwell. But neighbors still remain shaken.

Thirteen people were treated for smoke inhalation. Two of them were taken to the hospital, but are expected to be okay.

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