Very sad-ler: Fire chars student apartment

"Luckily, it was just the building," says Rick Jones, president of Management Services, which manages Sadler Court apartments. The building burned early on the morning of April 4, leaving about 15 students homeless.

"It's sad for all these kids headed toward their final exams," says Jones. "The last thing they need to worry about is moving their apartment."

But move they will. After three days at the nearby Red Roof Inn courtesy of MSC and the Red Cross, the displaced residents may accept an "unbelievable" offer from Woodard Properties for free rent through May 28 at a new nearby complex called Camden Plaza.

Jones calls an insurance company's initial damage estimate of $500,000 for the nine-unit building located at the corner of 14th and Sadler Streets "a little high."

City fire marshal Ben Powell says investigators discovered two "areas of interest" in unit #9– where the fire began. While stopping short of calling the fire "suspicious," Powell says the floor of that apartment was burned through in those two areas, and the joists under the floor were damaged. He says Charlottesville Police have sent some materials to the state police lab in Richmond to test for the presence of accelerants, and the results should be back within eight weeks.

MSC hopes to reopen Sadler Court by fall.