PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A calm afternoon turned chaotic after a fire quickly engulfed an apartment in Panama City early Monday afternoon.
Smoke started billowing out of the back of the Pinewood Village Apartments at about 1 p.m.
Circle K employee Ameena Russell was out back of the gas station, taking a smoke break when she saw something.
“I was looking over there and it was like a little bitty fire, like a fire pit. And then I told my manager,” Russell said.
When Russell and her manager came back outside, the fire had gotten out of hand.
“It was already black, like, big black smoke. The whole top of the store was covered with smoke and it was on fire, like, boom! Popping, boom boom!” Russell said.
Battalion Chief Jerome Fleeman of the Panama City Fire Department confirmed that the fire was as bad as it looked to witnesses.
“I would consider this pretty much close to a total loss on this one,” Fleeman said. “There is tremendous smoke damage throughout the entire structure.”
Despite the scary sight of the fire, there were no injuries. However, there was a kitten onsite who was given oxygen and is reported to be okay.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Panama City Fire Department wants to remind individuals before this week’s cold spell to have their HVAC systems checked before turning the heat on.