Families forced out by overnight fire

Damaged items puled from the apartments. / Allen Carter

Four families have been forced out of their homes after an overnight fire.

The blaze started in one apartment unit in the 1600 block of Schley Avenue. That home is a total loss, fortunately though no lives were lost.

Firefighters were called out to the complex at about just before 1 a.m. after food was left unattended on the stove.

The fire was contained to the one unit, but heavy smoke damage took a toll on three adjoining units.

"The next door neighbor, her house was actually the one that was engulfed in flames, and she came and knocked on all four of our doors and woke everybody up and got us out before is spread to all four of the apartments," said Regina Brown, who lives in one of the apartments.

Brown and her neighbors are now staying in a nearby motel at least until the power is turned back on.

"We've got to get in touch with the fire marshal and see when we can get the electricity turned back on for the rest of the building to see when they can go back home and live in their apartments again," said property manager Tifani Eledge.

"I just went shopping yesterday for the Thanksgiving holiday and unfortunately I think everything in the refrigerator is gone," said Brown.

But the families did get some relief when the Red Cross showed up.

"We're here to give them vouchers today that provide food and clothing and bedding and storage," said Lara Gill, Executive Director of the Flint River Chapter of the Red Cross. "We're not able to provide everything for these people, but we are able to help them put their lives back in order."