Several dozen people are out of their homes after a fire in the Mount Vernon area destroyed two apartments and damaged ten more.
The two-alarm fire started around 6 p.m. at the Woodlawn Garden Apartments in the 8400 block of Richmond Highway.
About 65 firefighters responded after flames could be seen shooting through the roof of one apartment building.
Firefighters said one person was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, and a total of 43 people were displaced.
Leyla Marroquin was inside her apartment when she says her family smelled smoke.
“The smoke started getting even worse and worse, and so we called the cops and the ambulance came rushing,” Marroquin said. “And when they came, the fire was getting very, very dangerous, so everyone was getting out.”
She and her family sat in their car to stay warm as firefighters put out the flames.
“We are in the car because I have five sisters and the smoke is dangerous for them because some of them have asthma,” she said. “So that’s why we’re in the car. And it’s very cold outside!”
The Red Cross is working with displaced residents to help them find a place to stay.
Firefighters said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. They’re reminding people to take extra caution this time of year because the cold temperatures and holiday season can bring increased fire danger.
“You see lots of fires due to electrical nature,” said Tom Arnold, Fairfax Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief. “So whether it’s making sure you’re not overloading circuits, unplugging things like that, and secondary heating devices. We will see an uptick in those types of calls throughout the winter now.”