NEWPORT NEWS-A late-night fire damaged three apartments in Newport News.

Deputy Chief Scott Liebold says there was an electrical short in the water heater for apartment 1 at 563 Diplomat Court.

'The occupant entered the hall where the water heater was and saw flames at the bottom of it, exited the apartment and made the call around 11:25 p.m.,' he said.

That apartment was condemned and two units above it will need cleaning due to smoke damage, he noted.

Investigators estimate the fire caused $20,000 in damage to the homes and residents lost about $10,000 worth of personal property.

The Red Cross-Coastal Virginia helped the two adults with food and lodging. Officials said the two have renter's insurance.

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