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Victims Forced Out of Their Homes After Flames Gut Several Units at Hermitage Apt. Complex

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HERMITAGE, Tenn. - Huge flames and lots of smoke at a Hermitage apartment complex have many residents sleeping in hotels tonight. It's the 3rd fire in 7 years at the Arbours of Hermitage, and this fire was intense. Late this afternoon crews finished boarding up Building 51 and put fences up. Inside the belongings of many people who lived there are gone and the Fire Department wants to know how it all started. It was the middle of the night when the freezing cold gave way to fire. Most residents were sleeping at the Arbours of Hermitage. Mia Carter was the first to call 911 after looking up and seeing flames coming from the unit above her. Firefighters tried to contain the blaze, but it didn't cooperate. 8 units are destroyed. 2 others are not liveable.

Many tenants lost all their belongings as they rushed to get out.

The Fire Department issued a 2nd alarm, bringing more crews to fight the flames. It's something they've done before at this complex. In 2007 FOX17 NEWS told you about a fire that destroyed 10 units there. Then again in 2009 another 10 units were consumed after a man set his mattress on fire. The owners of the complex say the building, built in 1972, has fire walls. However they didn't stop the destruction. Mia Carter holds on to her 5 year old son's Mickey Mouse doll, one of the few possessions left.

Residents take some comfort knowing everyone made it out, and no one was injured. While fire investigators believe it started on the 2nd floor. It may be days before they know what caused the fire. For residents who lost so much, the effects are immediate.

The Red Cross is now helping several families, giving them spending money and paying for a hotel. The apartment complex also will help residents move into vacant apartments.

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