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Apartment fire ruled accidental

LAWRENCEVILLE - Investigators ruled a Friday night fire at the Stanford Village Apartments accidental.

Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said no foul play is suspected in the Norcross blaze, which left 25 people displaced. An exact cause has not been determined, although Rutledge said the fire appears to have started in the exterior wall in the area of the electrical meter.

Residents reported seeing the fire climb up the outside wall of the building, when it began at about 7:20 p.m.

The blaze caused heavy damage to three units, moderate damage to one unit and significant smoke, heat and water to a terrace level apartment, Rutledge said.

It took firefighters about an hour and a half to get the fire under control, but they were able to keep it from spreading to apartments on the other side of a breezeway.

Rutledge said the Red Cross was contacted to assist the eight families impacted by the blaze.