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Apartment Fire Displaces Dozens


POSTED: Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 9:20pm

UPDATED: Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 6:03am

EL PASO - The lives of 42 people, including Robert Chavez, changed in a flash early this morning...

"The house burned down the 2nd floor one of the apartments burned down and everything. They had to break in axed all the apartments and we don't know what's going to happen because we might end up homeless because we don't have anywhere to go or anything," Chavez said.

And some neighbors had to work as fire alarms because they say their smoke detectors weren't working.

"I'm lucky to be alive. Luckily, for the lady downstairs we give our thanks. Thank you for helping us to live," Chavez said.

The cold weather is sparking more than just heaters, it's sparking flames.

Neighbors say they're upset about having to stay in motels, but what angers them more is conditions they were living in.

Battalion Chief Sam Pena said the fire is still under investigation, but they have an idea of what caused the fire.

"It might have been the heater that overheated and was a source of the ignition. But again, it's still under investigation at this time," Pena said.

The fire damage isn't the only thing kicking people out of their homes.

"They're not going to be able to occupy the building. The city building inspector has shut down the building due to non-working smoke detectors and other violations," Pena said.

The scariest part about the fire for residents is the uncertainty of their future.

"Hopefully somebody out there will help us because we're broke right now. I don't get my money until the first. I don't know what were going to do after we stay three days in a motel. I don't know," Chavez said.

Accidents do happen, but Chavez continues to think a lot of this damage could have been avoided.

"It could be an accident. But, this could be prevented if we had smoke detectors," Chavez said.

Comments News Comments

Please keep me informed on ANY/ALL news events concerning the apartment building at 1015 Myrtle Ave. The " love-of-my-life" lives there and I want to know that she's ok since I don't get to SEE her often. I live in Minnesota and I can't afford to come see her often .

One important bit of advice: People need to leave their clothes and other material and personal possessions away and out of the furnace/heater closet. Sparks and heat the furnace produces can ignite clothes, paper or anything within the enclosed space most furnaces occupy.

Please announce this on your newscast.

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