SHERMAN, TX-Sherman fire officials now know what started Tuesday’s massive fire at the Hunnington Apartments. They tell us a smoldering cigarette started the massive blaze that cost at least $600,000 in damages.
This is what's left of Kenneth Gray's apartment. Tuesday's fire forced Gray and 20 others out of their homes. Sherman fire officials said it was started by a cigarette.
"It really sucks that somebody else being really careless has affected me and everybody else in the building, but it's not really one of those things you can really plan for," he said.
Gray's boarded up apartment is one of the eight that burned to the ground yesterday. Eight others were heavily damaged.
It was right behind the area where authorities said the fire started.
"It's really hard to describe, I mean, watching a building burn on TV is nothing like watching it happen to your building right there just a few feet away from you. I mean, all my stuff's in it but I'm just glad no one was hurt. My fiancee wasn't home at the time," he said.
Sherman Fire Chief Jeff Jones said the burning cigarette was disposed of on the balcony of a second floor apartment.
"I believe the occupant had a bucket where they typically discard the smoking materials. With the low humidity and high wind yesterday, we believe that some of that material came outside of that bucket and then started some of that hardwood on fire," he said.
Jones said the resident living at that apartment will not face any criminal charges.
"We believe the fire was accidental, that is, nobody intentionally improperly discarded anything. So there's no criminal offense there,” he said. "The other thing that's real typical at an apartment complex is, you're real good and really have good housekeeping skills and maintenance, but the guy above you, below you, beside you or behind you may not be as careful. So we're always at risk from our neighbors and in close proximity."
"I'm not gonna hold a grudge and I'm not gonna be angry with them. It's just a simple mistake and it's just things. No one was hurt and stuff can be replaced," said Gray.
Another affected resident told us that the Hunnington Apartments held a meeting Tuesday afternoon going over plans to relocate tenants of building 5.
We reached out to the apartment's management and they had no comment.