Blaze forces family from home

Jan. 08, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

A Lee County mother and her 5-year-old daughter were displaced after an apartment fire Monday night.

The Sanford Fire Department responded to the fire in the 500 block of Forest Ridge Drive at 7:25 p.m., and personnel remained on the scene for more than three hours, according to Sanford Fire Chief Wayne Barber.

The apartment was heavily damaged, he said, and the residents, Jilka Ayala and her daughter, were displaced. No one was injured.

“The fire started in the bedroom of the apartment,” Barber said. “It appears to be an overheated electric circuit or appliance, [which] set the curtains on fire and spread from there.”

The neighboring apartment sustained extensive smoke damage, but the residents were moved back in Tuesday, he said.

Local American Red Cross Coordinator Abby Cameron said the organization was assisting the displaced family, who is now staying with family members.

“We provided clothing, food, seasonal garments and a storage container,” she said. “It’s going to be awhile [before they can move back in to their home] because it was completely destroyed. So we are going to pay the first month’s rent for a new location.”

Cameron commended her volunteers for an excellent job of assisting the family and for battling the below-freezing temperatures.

Other emergency personnel and the Sanford Police Department also responded to the fire.