Apartment Blaze Displaces Families

By: Ilyssa Trussel
By: Ilyssa Trussel

8/23/06

Residents waking up at a Tallahassee apartment complex are shocked.

An early morning fire destroyed a building at the Savannah Sound Club Apartments leaving seven families without a place to sleep.

"I was completely stunned, and usually you don't expect for this to happen where you live, you don't want this to happen to anybody, and it’s just very astounding, terrifying, horrible for the family who lived there," said Janna O'Connor, who noticed the damage while walking her dog this morning.

The blaze began around 2:30 Wednesday morning, sending dozens of residents outside to see what was going on.

"I saw flames shooting out about 20 feet out of the building, and it was pretty intense," said Rhett Barfield, who was just coming home at the time.

Jeremy Hornstra said he was concerned about his neighbors.

"I was just hoping it wasn't gonna spread, but I was mainly just worried about the people inside, make sure they didn't have pets inside."

Father of two Michael Washington stood outside with his children as firefighters put out the blaze.

"I heard the fire department and I got out of bed and walked to the front door and saw the whole building on fire. Basically, I'm just amazed the people got out."

When daylight broke arson investigators and fire marshals sifted through rubble trying to figure if the fire could have been set on purpose.

"It's just surprising to me and scary. It really is, because why would someone try to start a fire like that, especially in an environment like this. It could have spread to the whole building," said resident Shante Harden.

Damage is estimated at $200,000. Most of the damage was done in the attic and in an upstairs apartment.

The Red Cross is putting up the seven families in hotels for the next seven nights. The agency is also giving them money for food and clothing.

One of the apartments was heavily damaged. The others are probably salvageable.


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