Friends, family help fire victims gather their belongings - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Friends, family help fire victims gather their belongings

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A suspicious fire at an apartment building on Charleston's west side started just before noon on Monday at a house on Virginia Street West.

The building houses six apartments.

Everyone in the building at the time of the fire made it out unhurt. 

Many of those families returned to the scene Monday evening with friends and family who were willing to help them out.

Richard McAboy isn't getting paid to help his friends gather their things.  He just wants to help. 

One victim of the fire said, "We tried to get some water, and by the time we got out of the house everything just in a blaze."

They lived in the apartment directly beneath the spot where the fire began.

She told 13NEWS, "I'm just thankful that I'm alive."

Alive, but without a place to live, her husband has cancer. 

The Salvation Army and the Red Cross are putting them up in a hotel for three days... But after that, she's considering the worst case scenario.  "Being homeless, and that's something I don't want.  I'm from Charleston," said the victim. 

For now, the family has friends to help them, but those friends are afraid of what could happen down the road.

Samuel Ballengee of Charleston said, "This whole place burned down!  Everyone is out of their apartments.  Wouldn't you be?"

Victims said they feel helpless, especially since the fire happened during the Holiday season.

"Nothing can prepare you for this, nothing.  I don't care how long somebody teaches you or how much they teach you, you can never, ever be prepared for this," said another victim. 

For McAboy, it's about reacting and doing the right thing.

"If you try to help people, maybe things will go a lot smoother later on," said McAboy. 

 

There's still no word on what caused the fire.  

Charleston Fire officials are calling it suspicious.  

An investigation is underway.