ETX families recover items from burned apartments - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

ETX families recover items from burned apartments

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -

Longview families affected by an apartment fire are now able to go back into their homes. 

Residents at the Regency Park apartments spent today recovering any salvageable items from their burned apartments. 

A fire ripped through their apartment complex, on Thursday around noon.

The Regency Park apartments are located in the 700 block of Gilmer Road in Longview.

Officials say the fire started when roofing contractors accidentally ignited some wood siding with a torch.

"This is a bad fire. It is basically like having twelve homes stuck together. So yes, this is a tragic loss today," said Johnny Zackary, the Longview Fire Marshal.

No one was hurt in the fire. The apartment management team was able to alert all of the tenants about the fire and get them out of their apartment safely.

"We did manage to save one pet. We think we lost one; he would not come to our maintenance people. But everyone here was fantastic in just immediately taking action to make sure everyone was safe," said Shana Jones, Regency Park's property manager.

Residents say one minute the flame was small and the next minute air conditioning units were exploding and the entire roof of the building was on fire.

"The whole place is in shock. Even neighbors from way over by Fairmont Street came over here to check on us," said John Cole, a resident whose apartment was destroyed.

The Red Cross was there helping people figure out what to do next. They are putting the families affected by the fire into hotels, for now.

The apartment manager says she is close to her tenants and hopes they can move into different apartments in the same complex.

"This is not just a job for me, it's my family, and so it hurts," Jones said.

Even though emotions were high, Cole is choosing to see the bright side of today's tragedy.

"At least this 71-year-old man made it out alive, and everyone I know who lived there did too, that's what counts," Cole said.

Firefighters say there are some closets and small spaces the fire did not touch. 

It is up to the owners of the apartment to decide if the workers who started the fire should be held responsible for the damage. 

Copyright 2012 KTLV. All rights reserved.

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