PHOENIX — Eight families are without a place to stay after an apartment fire that happened on Tuesday morning.
Phoenix fire says they responded to the complex near Mountain View Road and 14th Street not once, but twice because of two separate fire calls.
The first time, firefighters believed they had extinguished the fire that happened on a balcony around 12:30 a.m. They even came back a few hours later, around 6:00 a.m. to double check the fire was out, which Phoenix fire says is a common practice.
However, at around 7:30 a.m., several of the apartment units were quickly engulfed in flames once again.
“The second fire started in the attic, and apparently from what I’ve been also told there was no dividing wall. It’s just all open space,” said Tania Peraza, whose apartment was significantly damaged by the second fire.
The reality of the loss is still sinking in on the first day of the new year.
“I’m still in shock,” said Peraza. “I think it’s going to hit me in a few days and it’s going to be horrible.”
As the flames were spreading during the second fire, people at the other complex building began smelling the smoke. One woman sprinted out of her apartment to check on her neighbors.
“I was just like, you have to get out, it’s on fire,” said Andrea Deis, who banged on her neighbors doors.
Deis’ quick action saving one of her neighbors.
“When the bottom resident opened the door, I just helped him get out with his cat,” she recalled. “I wouldn’t say I’m a hero whatsoever. We all helped everybody.”
Peraza told ABC15 she was towards the end of her lease but her concern is with her neighbors.
“They don’t have anywhere to go, they don’t know what they’re going to do.”
Two units are a total loss, according to a spokesperson. Six other units had to be evacuated, and residents are not being let back in because the power has been shut off.
It’s unclear if leftover heat or embers sparked the second fire, or if there was a new source to the flames. Phoenix fire says they are continuing to investigate.
No injuries have been reported in the fire.
The Red Cross gave all the residents who were forced out in the cold vouchers for a week at a nearby motel.