No one was hurt in the fire that destroyed three units at the Maxton Village Apartments, according to Shawn Phillips, Que Heel Fire Department chief.
The department was called out to the apartments on Charlie Watts Road about 2:30 a.m. The cause of the fire is unknown. Phillips said the Robeson County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.
Phillips said firefighters had to clear out two additional units to fight the fire, which was contained in less than 45 minutes. Firefighters from Evans Cross Roads, Maxton-Southeast, Smith's, and Laurinburg assisted.
Pat Smartt, manager of the Robeson County branch of American Red Cross, said the five families consisted of 12 people and their ages ranged from 10 months to 55 years old.
The Red Cross helps burned-out families with temporary shelter and with items such as clothing that can help them in the days following the fire.
Smartt said a family of four was moved into the Scotland Inn in Laurinburg. Another family was relocated into an empty unit at the apartment complex. One woman went to live with her father. The Red Cross fed the families and gave them gift cards that they can use for clothes and bedding, Smartt said.
Smartt said the displaced families are also receiving help from three nonprofit organizations in Laurinburg - the church and community center, Helping Hands and Habitat for Humanity.
“They will be able to purchase furniture and household items at a very reduced rate,” Smartt said. “We basically were there to take care of their immediate needs.”
Smartt said Carol Ann Lentz, manager of the Scotland County branch of the American Red Cross, is also assisting the families.