BRADENTON — The bed was on fire.
That’s the last thing Courtney Williams remembers seeing before she escaped her apartment Friday afternoon.
“I just ran,” said Williams, 19.
Williams had woken up moments before on the sofa with her 3-year-old son, Patrick Dawes, by her side at around 2:30 p.m.
“I walked into the bedroom and saw the bed on fire,” she said. “I grabbed my son and ran.”
Both mother and son left the building without injury after the three-alarm fire broke out in her second-floor apartment at Avalon Square, 3506 14th St. W.
Williams’ apartment appeared to be destroyed.
From ground level, a charred interior was visible. Wires and pipes were sticking out from blackened walls. There were massive holes in the roof. Several windows were smashed open, too, caused by firefighters trying to put out the fire.
The blaze took firefighters from Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue, City of Bradenton Fire Department, Southern Manatee and West Manatee more than an hour to put out.
“It was a very testing fire,” said Randy Stulce, fire chief for Cedar Hammock.
He said the cause of the blaze is unknown, but that “it doesn’t look suspicious at this time.”
Williams’ neighbor, Desante Jordan, was walking around the complex with her friends when they saw the smoke.
“It didn’t seem that bad until the firefighters broke a window and we saw all the flames,” said Jordan, 15. “There were people watching, some were crying.”
Stulce said power was cut off to Williams’ building, and also to a neighboring one as a precautionary measure against the wind sending flames off and causing a chain reaction.
Power was restored to the adjacent building at around 6 p.m.
Besides Williams’ apartment, seven others were affected by the fire. According to Avalon Square Apartments officials, one of those has fire damage, two others water damage and the rest smoke damage.
The local Red Cross was available to help affected families Friday night, an apartment employee said.
Williams said she was going to stay with family Friday.
“I’m still in shock,” Williams said, as she looked through photographs that she recovered from her apartment. “I can’t believe it.”