BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — The General Clay Apartments is a two-story complex with 32 units and all of the families who lived there are left without a place to call home after a devastating fire Sunday.
“My cousin ran in the house and he said, ‘hey come on, come on, get out, the house is on fire,’” said William Jackson.
“I just heard a popping noise, I looked out the window and I told them, fire, and we had to get out,” said Chaka Frost.
Residents of the General Clay Apartments came streaming outside as smoke plumed up from the building.
“I was just happy everybody got out alright, yes,” said Jackson. “It’s said thought, because ain’t nobody got nowhere to go.”
Bessemer Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Kenny Ray told WIAT one woman was rescued from the flames and three others were transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation, but no one escaped this fire completely unscathed.
The complex was destroyed.
Several of the residents told WIAT 42 they had only moved into the apartments a couple of weeks ago.
“A little discouraged, but alright, because I know something better is ahead,” said Debbie Davis.
The Red Cross went to the scene to assist the victims and set up a shelter at the Bessemer Civic Center. 30 of the 97 people who were displaced by the fire are staying there. The rest are staying with family members.
WIAT 42 spoke with many of the people who lost their homes and belongings in the fire; they all told us everything they own is now gone. Monday, at the scene of the fire it was easy to see the destruction the fire left behind. Every apartment appears to be affected or destroyed by the fire.
“It hurts so bad because I just put myself together a nice little home and it’s all gone up in fire and there’s things in there I cannot replace you know,” Kathy Burnett said.
Crews are still investigating the cause of the fire.
The Red Cross has responded to several large apartment fires in just the past few months. They looked up their numbers and found out they have helped nearly 700 people since January whose homes have been affected by fire.
They say their resources are not strained because they get donations from people in the community. They are accepting donations for the people displaced in the General Clay apartment fire at the Foundry Ministries in Bessemer.
Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News