COLORADO SPRINGS — After a lightning strike sparked a massive apartment fire, more than 50 people are without a home this Labor Day.
34 apartments were damaged and 64 people are displaced after the fire at Apex Apartments started early on Saturday Sept. 3.
“I can start over brand new, but I can’t start over without him,” an anonymous victim said.
This resident of Apex declined to speak on camera but is sharing her pet’s remarkable story. Around midnight, she arrived home to a building in flames, knowing her pet was inside.
“I want to say from 1 a.m. Saturday to about 8 a.m. I had no idea if he was okay,” she said.
As flames erupted she nervously watched inside her apartment through a ring camera.
“I told him over and over that he was being a good boy and I could see his eyes,” she said.
She’s now reliving what she experienced that night.
“My friends told me that the fire alarms didn’t go off, my neighbors said that she banged on my door,” she said.
All community members are accounted for, but several FOX21 spoke to say they were not alerted by smoke detectors but rather their neighbors after seeing smoke in their apartment.
“They didn’t go off, like we had no idea,” the resident said.
Colorado Springs Fire investigations determined the early morning fire started in the attic of the three-story apartment.
“We had 14 engines and truck companies on the scene, about 50 to 60 firefighters, and so we go the fire under control and we had no reports of any parties that were trapped or unaccounted for,” Derek Wheeler, CSFD Shift Commander said.
Thick smoke poured out the Apex Apartments complex and was under control in 90 minutes.
“The entire roof is burned off the structure, and there’s water damage throughout,” Wheeler said.
American Red Cross said as of Monday all 64 community members are in a temporary housing situation.
“We provide the services they’re needing right now, from disaster counseling to financial assistance,” said Phil Martinez, Executive Director for American Red Cross. “From the beginning all the way till they feel comfortable.”
American Red Cross is still accepting donations at Apex Apartments, 7295 Ascent View, Colorado Springs, CO 80923 during the apartment’s regular business hours. Organizers said non-perishable food items, clothing, school supplies, and furniture are the top priorities.