Five families displaced by apartment fire in St. Petersburg started by pot on the stove

Posted at 9:48 PM, Apr 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 02:53:45-04

Five families are without a place to live after fire ripped through a St. Petersburg apartment building Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters were called to the Peppertree Village Condo complex on MLK at 118th Avenue around 3 p.m. Saturday.

A woman who lives in the apartments told ABC Action News she'd been studying all day, and got up to fix some lunch, but went back to the couch and fell asleep with the stove on.  She woke up to see the apartment filling with smoke, then grabbed some towels and a fire extinguisher, but the fire was just too intense.  So she grabbed her dog and ran out of the home.

Thankfully, she and all her neighbors escaped safely.  But one firefighter fell to the ground from heat related illness and was taken to the hospital.

"I'm going to be okay, and I appreciate all of y'alls support and love.  But just pray my family and anything y'all want to do, I accept it from the heart," said Felicia Whipple.

"We take care of everybody and also take care of our own.  So that's our number one key," said Lt. Steven Lawrence, St. Petersburg Fire Rescue deputy fire marshal.

That firefighter who got sick on scene was alert and hooked to IV fluid when crews loaded him into the ambulance.  He's expected to be okay.

The Red Cross is assisting the families impacted by the fire.