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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington Fire Department says improperly discarded smoking material led to a fire that ripped through an apartment complex overnight that forced nearly 20 people from their homes.

It happened at Wilmington’s Colonial Grand Apartments at 818 St. Andrews Drive. Firefighters say the flames were put out just before 2 a.m.

The Wilmington Fire Department says fire, water and smoke damage ended up displacing six of the 18 units in the building. Two had fire damage, one had water damage and three other had smoke damages. WFD says property management has relocated all the people affected.

Crews say the fire forced about 18 people who lived there out of their apartments, and into the complex club house until the American Red Cross could get to the scene to help.

Firefighters say one was hurt, but one cat died in the fire.

The Red Cross says it is available to help anyone affected, but no one has asked for help so far.

Investigators say the fire started in the area of a second story balcony. They estimate the building suffered about $200,000 worth of damage.

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