The Red Cross is helping families.

Kids playing with fire sparked blaze that displaced 44 people, officials say

An apartment fire that left 44 people without a home has been ruled accidental, Channel 2 Action News reported.

The blaze started about 5:15 p.m. Thursday when children were playing with fire at the Ashford Oaks Apartment Homes in the 6300 block of Oakley Road in Union City, investigators told the news station.

The unit where the fire started did not have a working smoke detector, but other homes did, Channel 2 reported.

“I smelled smoke,” resident Robert Brown said. “... And then I opened the door. ‘Woosh!’ Smoke comes in the house.”

An 8-unit building at the Ashford Oaks Apartment Homes were destroyed, according to the Red Cross.

Crews did not clear the scene until just after 9:40 p.m.,Union City fire Battalion Chief Dennis Moore told Friday.

The displaced residents represent nine families, according to Red Cross spokeswoman Sherry Nicholson.

“Along with emotional support, a team of disaster volunteers provided assistance for their emergency needs such as lodging, clothing, food and personal items,” she said. “Caseworkers will continue to work with the families to help them get back on their feet and provide referrals for other recovery resources available to them in the community.”

Jaziyah Warthen, 10, brings out her belongings after she, her three siblings, her mother and her aunt were displaced from their Union City apartment. A fire Thursday evening destroyed their unit.

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