Children playing with cigarette lighters start fire at Broad River Road apartments - - Columbia, South Carolina

Children playing with cigarette lighters start fire at Broad River Road apartments

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RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A fire started Thursday night at the Green Oaks Apartments on Broad River Road.

Chief Aubrey Jenkins says the cause of the apartment fire was two children - ages four and five - playing with cigarette lighters. Officials say it started in a top apartment in a bedroom and that five people were in the apartment when the fire started.

Fire crews worked well into the night to put out all the hot spots at the apartment complex off Broad River Road. Damage done to the building is estimated at around $300,000.  

Eight families were affected by the fire. 

"I was just the lucky one out of the building, cause everything else is pretty damaged," says Melvin Satchell.

For Satchell, seeing a blaze like the fire at his home is nothing out of the ordinary. He is a Columbia firefighter. On Thursday night when he got home, he found his apartment on fire. The first thought that came to his mind was the safety of his wife and two sons who were at home when it started. "You know how you think certain things will never happen to you, but something's always happening, never know who it can happen to."

Melvin's things were just damaged by the smoke and he had renter's insurance.

Only three others in the building had the coverage. For the rest, they are going to have to spend thousands of dollars trying to get back on their feet.

Linda Ayers says, "It's going to be hard - if you don't have any furniture, clothing, food, or anything like that."

The next step for Melvin and the other families is to try to find somewhere else to live. The apartment complex is doing their best to place each of the families.

Melvin says no matter what, it will be a while before things get back to normal. "Make better accommodations and move forward. Thank God everybody made it out. That's the big thing."

A Red Cross spokesperson e-mails that as of Friday, $1,870 has been spent on emergency disaster relief services to aid two of the families.

If you'd like to support local disaster relief efforts, donations may be made to the Red Cross online at or by calling (803)-540-1200.

Reported by Stewart Moore

Posted by Chantelle Janelle

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