RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky State Police are investigating an apartment fire that started early Thursday morning as a possible arson case.
Fire crews were called to the scene on McDaniel Avenue around 4 a.m.
At one point, the fire was so intense that the smoke could be seen by drivers on I-75.
Officials said the apartment in which the fire started was not occupied, but some belongings of a tenant that was moving out were inside. The adjacent apartment was vacant and was damaged.
Residents that lived in other apartments in the building were evacuated for about two hours.
"I was worried. I got a lot of valuables. And a lot of people have a lot of valuables. It being close to Christmas, you got kids that live in those apartments. Might not have even had Christmas if it took the whole building out," said Ronnie Norris, a resident.
"The window was broken out and flames were just pouring out of the window. We're watching over here praying that it didn't come down to our apartment," said Kim Hilbert.
Hilbert and her family, including two children ages 2 and 6, live closest to the fire-damaged apartments and were evacuated along with all the others living in the apartment building by police as fire crews rushed to put the fire out.
"That's the first thing we did was, that's the only thing we had time to get was our kids. We've got two babies, so we grabbed them really quick and out the door we went," Hilbert said.
Along with the quick response from fire and rescue crews, a fire barrier built into the apartment walls may have kept it from spreading into the Hilbert's home.
Officials said no one was injured.
A fire investigator was on scene shortly after the fire was put out working to determine its cause. During the corse of their investigation, officials say they learned several individuals were scene in the area just before the fire.
Kentucky State Police are asking anyone with information to contact them on the arson tip line at 800-27ARSON.