Explosion, fire at Hillcrest Apartments UPDATE 12:44 P.M.: Fire may have been arson

A fire erupted today at Hillcrest Apartments, consuming building 21. According to officials, no one was seriously injured. The woman who lived in the first apartment to catch fire believes it was arson. Xpress reporter Jason Sandford was on the scene. You can follow his updates here or on our Twitter feed. Click here to see a photo gallery of images from the fire.

1:15 p.m. leaving fire scene now. #avlnews

12:51 p.m. young woman who lived in one of the apts just arrived. is crying, being consoled.#avlnews

12;48 p.m. debbie starling, mother of angel matthews, said daughter and boyfriend were arguing this morn

12:42 p.m. angel matthews tells me she thinks her ex blew up her apt.#avlnews

12:40 p.m. angel matthews says she was taking restraining order out on exboyfriend at time of fire.#avlnews

12:39 p.m. angel matthews says fire started in her apt and she thinks it was arson.#avlnews

12:33 p.m. building at hillcrest is now smoldering. #avlnews

12:31 p.m. gene bell, ceo of the housing auth, says a maintenance worker injured an ankle getting out of bldng.#avlnews

12:18 p.m. gene bell, the housing authority director, is talking with fire officials and mayor.#avlnews

12:16 p.m. mayor bellamy says housing authority will find housing for residents w red cross help.#avlnews

12:15 p.m. to reiterate: mayor bellamy says nobody injured. lots of scared people.#avlnews

12:13 p.m. mayor bellamy says there was one woman in apt at time of fire who made it safely out.#avlnews

12:08 p.m. there’s what looks like a police helicopter overhead at hillcrest fire. #avlnews

12:04 p.m. there’s still laundry on a clothesline in the back of the building, which houses six apts.#avlnews

12:03 p.m. one end of the hillcrest building is charred and falling down. roof almost gone.#avlnews

12:01 p.m. heavy smoke still pouring from hillcrest building 21. flames visible from roof.#avlnews

11:53 a.m. hillcrest building 21 is being eaten by fire. dozens of residents are watching.#avlnews

11:52 a.m. firefighters are tackling the fire from ground and ladder truck. #avlnews

11:49 a.m. hillcrest residents report hearing a loud explosion during the fire.#avlnews

11:47 a.m. on scene now of hillcrest fire. one building involved. flames shooting from roof.#avlnews

11:42 a.m. more ambulances arriving on scene at hillcrest. #avlnews

11:41 a.m. traffic is slowing at the interstate interchange near hillcrest. #avlnews

11:40 a.m. one ladder truck is fighting major hillcrest fire from above. #avlnews

11:36 a.m. more fire trucks responding to major fire. #avlnews

11:35 a.m. heavy smoke and flames at hillcrest apts. #avlnews

— David Forbes, staff writer. Photo by Light_writer

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19 thoughts on “Explosion, fire at Hillcrest Apartments UPDATE 12:44 P.M.: Fire may have been arson

  1. jkav77

    they were probably had a meth lab in the apartment thats why it blew up

  2. Asheville Dweller

    Not a good week for West Asheville, try not to kid yourselves these locations are in West Asheville.

  3. JWTJr

    Why is it that gov’t involved housing is run so badly? They are the absolute worst landlords.

  4. JWT – I can’t say much about the landlords, but you gotta leave some finger-wagging for the tenants. Its not the landlords who are shooting at each other or blowing up each others apartments due to domestic violence & drama.

  5. Piffy!

    [i]Why is it that gov’t involved housing is run so badly? They are the absolute worst landlords. [/i]

    [b]JWT – I can’t say much about the landlords, but you gotta leave some finger-wagging for the tenants. Its not the landlords who are shooting at each other or blowing up each others apartments due to domestic violence & drama. [/b]

    Regardless, I’m sure it is just an isolated incident and not one in any way connected to aspects of Poverty, the Welfare State, The Drug Game, or the War on Drugs and the selected-levels of enforcement entailed therein.

    After all, I know tons of well-to-do white people who regularly take peaceful strolls through the various Asheville Projects- stopping to chat with neighbors, helping with the laundry, offering baby-sitting services- all in a days work!

  6. Exactly – it isn’t necessarily about government housing, but the ruthless cycle of poverty & all that accompanies it.

    And just because some of the folks who live in these housing projects take part in negative aspects of violence & drugs, it doesn’t mean there aren’t good folks & communities that are established in these residences.

  7. Piffy!

    [b]Exactly – it isn’t necessarily about government housing, but the ruthless cycle of poverty & all that accompanies it. [/b]

    But I DO think that government housing is usually inextricably linked to that cycle.

    [b]there goes the meth lab! [/b]

    meth lab in the city? doubtful. Those are usually out int he sticks, or in some white trash hotel. Black folks sell coke. white folks sell meth.

  8. Asheville Dweller

    Got to love the progressive open mindness on this board and the Broad generalizations being made. No sympathy at all from anyone, that is Classy.

    Some people lost their home and all or most of their possesions, right before the Holidays. And all we get from the peanut gallery is finger pointing and questionable comments.

    Simply Classy folks

  9. GoodGrief

    That’s some good detective work there, Lou. Stereotype much, Pfff??? You haven’t even let the coals cool and already you’re making gross assumptions and pointing fingers. Way to go Sherlock. And you know that “Black folks sell coke, white folks sell meth” from personal experience, right? Get real. I’ll bet you were the first person over at the housing unit destroyed offering someone a place to stay or a hot meal, right? Uh huh. Sure. Offer something worthwhile next time.

  10. **^*: have you never passed by a house in the city, say West Asheville, in the middle of the summer when it’s 95 degrees outside and the smoke from the “wood stove” is pouring out like it’s a 20 degree day in winter?

  11. Asheville Dweller

    If this would of happen to an apartment in Montford or over on chestnut street or down in the ever so dreadful river arts cluster, the same folks making jokes would be begging for money, hand outs and ready pitch in and help.

    But since they were lving in Hillcrest their glorious true colors shine through. Ahh the open mind in this town is a tunnel vision eye.

  12. Who is making a joke?
    Some folks on here might be a little forthcoming in their racist assumptions on drug manufacturing, but I didn’t see anyone making jokes.

    Of course this is a tragedy for the families of that building who lost their home & belongings. Thankfully no one was hurt or worse. If that were the situation I think folks would be less apt to discuss the socioeconomic roles of government assistant housing. Asheville is a caring community, I won’t question that for a moment.

  13. Mysterylogger

    “JWT – I can’t say much about the landlords, but you gotta leave some finger-wagging for the tenants. Its not the landlords who are shooting at each other or blowing up each others apartments due to domestic violence & drama”

    Yeah your innocent, tell yourself anything to help you sleep at night, its ok . . . your comments tell the truth.

    Glad to see its just Violence and Drama, how caring. . . .

  14. travelah

    Blaming poor people for the thugs in their midst is a bit disingenious.

  15. Piffy!

    Get over your faux-concern, Asheville Dweller.

    my comments about coke and meth labs was only in response to greenasheville’s ‘there goes the meth lab’ comment. I was not making any speculation about the fire being connected to drug production. In fact, if you re-read my comment, that is fairly clear. It would seem your beef is with greenasheville and jkav77, not the pfff. I was just stating that it was unlikely to be a meth lab, which proved to be an accurate hypothesis.

    I’m a middle-class white american male. Calling me racist is like calling the sky blue. But these are still facts. Maybe the facts are racist, too. If you want meth, go to jackson county. You want coke, go to one of Asheville’s many government housing projects. Simple economics and demographics. Save your pseudo-judgment for yourself.

  16. Asheville Dweller

    My concern is just backed up by all the narrowmindness on this board. Like it always is leave it to the ever so caring Hipster crowd to show their true colors. Say what you will to try to take back what you said but there it is for everyone to see, Asheville the progressive its all its narrowminded glory.

    This board is just proving what I have been saying all along and that is too much for you to bear . . . Its ok though, you told me off . . .

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