A mere 24 hours after flames raced through a three-story apartment building in Brentwood, cleanup crews were on hand beginning the recovery effort. For the nearly one dozen families who called this building home, the road to recovery will be a long one.
“We’re in a hotel for three days, trying to find somewhere to go after that,” says Reneese Brinkley, a fire victim.
Brinkley was not home when an unattended space heather ignited a fire inside one of her neighbor’s second floor apartments early Sunday morning, but her six-month-old daughter and boyfriend were inside.
“I was in shock,” she says. “I thought they was dead. I didn’t see them out here.”
But thanks to the quick actions of two good Samaritans, her boyfriend and her daughter had escaped the flames, along with everyone else inside.
Tim Easton was one of those good Samaritans who noticed the flames and jumped into action.
“I tried the fire extinguisher. It didn’t work,” says Easton. “At that point, threw the fire extinguisher down. At that point turned on the fire alarm and started banging on doors to get people out of the building.”
The fast-moving fire destroyed most of the apartments on the second and third floors.
“I saw the second floor apartment blazing,” says Easton.
The remaining apartments suffered smoke and water damage. Residents tried to salvage what little they already had, thankful they all made it out alive.
The Red Cross is providing some assistance, but a lot more is needed. one woman who lived in the building had six children. Not a single person had renters insurance.