WASHINGTON (WJLA) – A fire ripped through a Northwest D.C. apartment building Thursday night, leaving 60 people homeless.
On Friday, those displaced from their 14th Street residences looked for answers from the American Red Cross.
A few personal items strewn on the sidewalk in Columbia Heights are all Chris Forrey has left. The American Red Cross gave him the shoes he wore when he spoke to ABC 7 News Friday.
“I’m so happy, just because I’m living,” he said.
Forrey says he was outside playing football after work and heard what sounded like a big explosion. At first, he thought it was just city noise, until he noticed smoke seeping out of his apartment building.
“I ran in the building. I smashed all the fire extinguisher glasses, and cracked my door and tried to put it out,” Forrey said. “I thought I had it under control and it just overtook the whole apartment.”
Forrey says the fire started in his third-floor apartment. Firefighters told ABC 7 News it took them a half hour to put out the blaze.
“It looked like it shook the whole roof, and black smoke was just coming out everywhere,” Forrey said.
In Spanish, Gloria Moran told ABC 7 News she and her husband were in their bedroom watching TV, when they heard the explosions. She said the flames where high, the smoke heavy.
Moran says she is lucky nothing happened to her. At one point, her husband, Gustavo, feared for a neighbor they saw screaming for help from a window. He says he never thought his neighbor would make it out alive.
Forrey added, “The fact that I was in there two minutes before it happened, I could have easily died yesterday.”
The American Red Cross is working with the city to find the displaced residents a place to live.