Shonda Swanson got back to her unit at NorthPointe Apartments on Saturday after going to a basketball tournament with her son. She took a breather on the couch. Within 20 minutes, she was running out of a burning building.
The Saturday fire at the complex just outside the city limits displaced more over 50 residents, Pittsylvania County Director of Public Safety Chris Slemp said, forcing some into temporary housing and leaving their next steps unclear.
Two of the buildings caught fire, and 36 units had to be evacuated.
Swanson got home from her 16-year-old’s basketball tournament at around 5:20 p.m., she said, and took a breather after the 45 minute drive home. Shortly thereafter, someone started banging on her door.
“When we opened the door the flames were shooting out of her apartment,” Swanson said. “We never heard a smoke detector, we didn’t smell any smoke.”