HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Shannon Perkins and her 9-year-old daughter Nyrie lost all of their belongings in an apartment fire in Hampton on Friday, and nearly lost their lives. 12 people were injured in the fire, including eight firefighters.

The Township in Hampton Woods apartment building on Marcella Road caught fire on Friday morning. Crews were called to the scene around 1:30 a.m.

Hampton Fire Division spokesman Scott Dogged says the crews arrived to the Perkins’ third-floor apartment in the nick of time. He said if they arrived a minute later, the mother and daughter wouldn’t have survived the growing flames.

Perkin’s sister, Anjelle Culton, says she flew down from Maryland immediately after hearing the news on Friday morning. She says both Shannon and Nyrie sustained burns on half of their faces. Shannon suffered third-degree burns on her arms and back, while Nyrie was injured on her torso. They were airlifted to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters for treatment.

Culton says her niece is just beginning to understand the breadth of their loss: that everything they own, and their home, are gone.

“She starts asking small questions. I think she’s piecing together that everything is gone. She was asking if we got her clothes, if we got her glasses,” Culton says. “I’m like don’t worry about it we’ll get you more stuff.”

Culton said her sister hasn’t yet seen the footage from the devastation, either.

“Today was the first day that she just realized she doesn’t have an apartment for us to go into to see if anything was salvageable,” Culton said. “You know, she was talking about a bag or something with all her important documents. I was trying to say in the nicest way possible, ‘Your apartment is now on ground one.'”

The building, owned by Mid America Apartment LP, didn’t have an integrated fire alarm or sprinkler system. It was built in 1983 before the state code required such systems. Still, the Hampton Fire Division strongly advises them. Culton says her sister and niece might have escaped sooner if they had woken up earlier.

“It just doesn’t make sense. You have too many people living in a building. If something does happen, how are they supposed to get out? How are they supposed to know?” Culton asked. “From my understanding, they said the fire started at one. She didn’t get out until 3. If that’s accurate, that means the fire was going on for two hours before she got out.”

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