May 20, 2013 10:58 PM

Fire Destroys Apartments, Displaces 13 Knott Co. Families

Thirteen Knott County families lost nearly everything they own when an apartment building caught fire Monday. It happened around noon in a complex on Highway 160, north of downtown Hindman.

For more than seven hours, firefighters pointed hoses at the roof of the apartment building, but the fire kept coming back. Ronnie Smith lives there in that unit.

"Basically everything we own is in there," he says.

Smith says his wife was home alone with their one year-old daughter, when she started smelling smoke.

"I really didn't know how bad it was at first until I got here."

Firefighters saved a couple photos for the Smiths, but smoke, water, and fire destroyed everything they had.

"I'm glad they got the two pictures. That's the two things that can't be replaced," Smith says.

Thirty-three people in all lost their homes.

"You know, I just thank god nobody got hurt. That's the main thing," says Stanley Slone.

The fire started right above Slone's apartment.

"I was able to get my guns out. That's about it," he says.

At this point, firefighters don't know what caused the fire. But it was strong enough to keep nine departments busy. While crews worked, dozens of people watched. To his neighbors, Slone has some advice:

"Don't get down, just think positive. We'll get through this."

More than two dozen people may have lost their homes, but as a testament to this community, nearly every single one of them has a bed to sleep in tonight.

"There's a lot of good people in Knott County if you need help. They'll come right in and help you out," Slone says.

The Red Cross will be at the apartments on Highway 160 Tuesday morning at nine, handing out debit cards for groceries and clothing, to those affected by the fire.


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