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2-alarm fire displaces 16 children, 12 adults

Posted: 5:31 AM, Feb 23, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-24 07:19:11-05
2-alarm fire displaces 16 children, 12 adults
2-alarm fire displaces 16 children, 12 adults
2-alarm fire displaces 16 children, 12 adults
2-alarm fire displaces 16 children, 12 adults
2-alarm fire displaces 16 children, 12 adults
2-alarm fire displaces 16 children, 12 adults
She knew something wasn't right when Amelia Lisa Nichols first heard a strange noise in the middle of the night.

"I was lying in my bed watching 'Fatal Attraction' around 2:30... a quarter to 3:00, and I heard something that went, 'Pop!  Pop!' and we normally park our cars out back so I asked my son, 'What the hell was that?  Look out back to make sure the cars are alright,' recalled Nichols.

She had no idea it was her home, not her car, that was in jeopardy as flames crept up her walls from the apartment below.

"The next thing I know my son is banging on the door saying, 'C'mon out!  C'mon out! It's a fire! It's a fire!'” Nichols said, “I thought it was my house because there was so much smoke in the kitchen."

Twelve adults and 16 children in all would scramble to get out, according to Baltimore County fire officials.

Some still donned the blankets they wrapped themselves in as they raced into the cold of night after the fire forced them from the Circle Terrace Apartments in Lansdowne.

"Crews made a great stop. They rescued people from the apartment,” said Baltimore County Fire Department Director Jay Ringgold, “We did transport one teenager from this fire scene with minor smoke inhalation."

Nichols later learned from a neighbor that a grease fire that had started on her stove had quickly burned out of control.

"She was fixing some chicken nuggets,” Nichols said. “I don't know if she fell asleep or forgot that it was on or what, but she was fixing chicken nuggets."

Once everyone got out of the building, Nichols' concern shifted to her cat she had left behind.

"I was really nervous, because I have a cat and I thought my cat had died from the smoke and stuff and the good news is the police came back out and said, 'We found your cat. He was in your bedroom', because I had my window cracked a little bit," Nichols said.

Of the 14 apartments in that building, five burned and the others have extensive smoke damage.

The Red Cross is taking care of the victims for now, and the owners of the complex have pledged to pick up where that assistance leaves off.

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