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Red Cross helping 35 Mt. Airy residents displaced by fire during holiday season

Posted: 4:55 PM, Dec 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-11 16:56:02-05
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CINCINNATI — A child admitted to playing with matches, causing a two-alarm apartment fire in Mt. Airy Tuesday evening. The fire displaced eight families, totaling 35 people now facing the holidays without a place to stay.

Building management at the Bahama Terrace apartment complex began clean-up efforts Wednesday, but it's going to take a lot of work to get the building back up and accessible for families again.

"Water damage and damage that the fire department had to cause to find hot spots in the ceiling and in between the walls," said Houston Andrews, property manager for the apartment complex.

Firefighters on the scene of the fire said a child admitted to starting the fire with matches; Andrews said the child was trying to kill bed bugs.

"By putting alcohol on the bed and by lighting the matches, it would kill the bed bugs and not set the whole building on fire," he said.

In the aftermath, some families have returned to the building to gather what belongings they can salvage before the doors and windows are boarded up to protect from the elements and looters.

"We're going to repair a lot of the walls and the roof, because weather is coming in, so we don't want more damage," said Andrews. "We got to keep the elements out to protect the interior of the structure."

The eight families displaced are currently in the care of the American Red Cross. Two of them may be able to return to their homes, but there is still more work to be done in the six other units that suffered serious damage.