A large fire Wednesday afternoon ripped through an apartment building in the Smithfield city limits.
Multiple fire departments responded to the alarm around 4:00pm at the Johnson Court apartment complex on Kay Drive off S. Brightleaf Boulevard.
Thick smoke darkened the sky in South Smithfield until the blaze was contained. The fire destroyed an entire building consisting of 5 units. The units included 3 residential apartments, a maintenance unit, and an office.
The Smithfield Fire Department used a ladder truck to spray water on the massive fire as crews on the ground worked on all sides of the L-shaped building to contain the stubborn blaze. Heavy flames caused the roof on the single-story complex to collapse.
Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to adjacent apartment buildings.
Initial reports indicate 17 people were displaced by the fire, including 5 adults and 12 children. The Red Cross is assisting the victims who lost all of their belongings.
There was no immediate report of any injuries.
Officials say the cause of the fire remains under investigation.