Southeast apartment building fire traps tenants, displaces several families

A fire in a Southeast apartment building Wednesday morning displaced several families and trapped some residents for a time. (WJLA)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Instead of heading to school, several children started their morning in the back of an ambulance after their Southeast D.C. apartment building caught fire Wednesday, trapping some residents inside.

D.C. firefighters had to rescue several families after the fire broke out just after 7 a.m. in the building on 46th Street.

"It's just horrible, to see something like that happen," a tenant said. "I woke up to smoke and flames, and had to run out of my [apartment]."

Between the flames and water damage, some residents say they have lost everything. Fortunately there was no loss of life, though some residents were actually trapped inside their apartments, surrounded by heavy smoke and flames.

"My son was getting ready for school and we smelled smoke...then realized the building was on fire," said Melvin Campbell. "Everything I own is wet... I don't know what [they will be able to do] about the floors."

D.C. police are keeping the area clear of traffic, and are being assisted by Housing Authority police.

Some of the units inside the large Section 8 housing complex are now condemned.

What's more, some residents told ABC7 this isn't the first time fires have disrupted their lives.

"Seems to me a lot of times these fires [are started because people aren't] paying attention, cooking or something," Campbell added.

However, a housing authority spokesperson says he he isn't looking into that claim.

Eventually the displaced children did head to school, while their parents were left to try and figure out where they will head.

"I hope they have a place to live," said nearby resident Gregory Anderson. "[This is a] tragic moment."