By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — A boy who apparently saw the genesis of a small fire at a downtown apartment building said he saw sparks fly up when he pulled his cellphone charger out of the wall, and flames followed.
Nobody was hurt by the blaze, which was contained within a few minutes, but at least three families were displaced Monday evening, at least temporarily, until cleanup was finished at 231 E. 13th St.
Smoke billowed out of a building front window about 6 p.m., and a visible scorch mark lined the outside of a side window on the second floor of the two-story red brick building. Anderson Fire Department Battalion Chief Gary Condon said the fire was out within 15 minutes, but firefighters needed to come back about 8 p.m. because a hot spot in the building flared up again.
He said the blaze was contained to only the top floor of the building, and was possibly contained to one room.
Mike Jackson, who lives in the apartment that was affected, said he was watching the news on TV in one room when his son, who was reading in another room, ran in to tell him about the fire. The boy said he went over to a wall where his cellphone was plugged in, attempted to pull the phone charger out of the wall and sparks flew up the wall and caught fire.
"We have nowhere to go tonight. I hope it's not serious," Jackson said.
Witnesses along 13th Street said they saw flames shooting out of the scorched window for several minutes before firefighters arrived.
Darrin Rutherford, who lives in another upstairs apartment, said he hoped that his family didn't lose everything in the blaze. He said he didn't smell anything unusual and the fire completely caught him by surprise. Rutherford lives in the apartment with his wife and his daughter, who just had a baby.
"We probably just lost everything. It's very upsetting. We had cats up there, too. Hopefully they can rescue them," he said. No further information about the family and pets was available after the fire.
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