Reporter: David Tate
Roanoke Co., VA. - Investigators say the apartment fire in Roanoke County that left 18 people without a home was an accident.
Investigators originally believed the fire started on the third floor but the investigation shows the massive blaze began on a second floor deck, which is a result of careless smoking.
As homeless tenants wait for permission to get into their apartments to see what may have survived Tuesday's fire, Matt Buttle, who works for Cedar Point Apartments, tries to get some of the essentials he knows they all need.
"I had to watch it. The helplessness of it and I just don't want anybody to ever feel the helplessness I felt yesterday. It's just... nothing you could do," said Buttle.
Buttle is the one that ran through the building, warning residents of the fast moving blaze. He says he rustled up a half dozen people including Kristin Bazar and her 2-year-old daughter.
"I grabbed her and we ran out. It looked just like a pole was on fire... like the balcony," said Bazar.
It would be the second huge blow for Bazar in just a few weeks. She also recently lost her job.
"I'm planning that all my electronics will be gone because it was water. They said it's like a sponge in there. But maybe photos, or something, that were in closets may be salvageable," said Bazar.
To make matters worse, the single mother has no insurance. Neither does Buttle. After helping the others, he was finally able to see what was saved from his apartment. It wasn't much material-wise, but it was a lot regardless.
"I got a couple of things which mean more to me than anything which were my family heirlooms from Ireland that was passed down from generation to generation. So, to me that's what counted the most," said Buttle.
He's just glad everyone made it out alive.
"Biggest thing is I'm happy that everybody is all right. That's the biggest deal," said Buttle.
If you think you can help some of these folks, you can drop off gifts or donations at the Cedar Point Apartments main office on Berry Lane.
If you want to specifically help the folks in this story, make that donation in the care of Kristin Bazar or Matthew Buttle.