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FIRST ON 3: Meridian Village fire ruled accident

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Investigators say an apartment building fire last week was an accident. Deputy Fire Marshal Grant Vick says investigators are still trying to figure out exactly how the fire started at Meridian Village Apartments on Northchase Parkway Thursday.

Vick says the fire started on the back patio of one of the downstairs apartments around 3:20 p.m., but it's unclear what actually sparked it. Investigators are still talking to tenants and witnesses.

Vick said the fire caused more than $500,000 worth of damage to the building, which was built in 1993 and 1994. He said the 2009 fire code requires apartments with patios include a sprinkler in the patio areas, which would have helped in this fire.

"It might not have put it out, but it might have held it in check," Vick said.

The fire displaced 34 people who lived in the 12 apartments. Two people suffered minor injuries. Vick said they were treated and released.

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