HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - It was a terrifying and upsetting ordeal for residents at an apartment complex in Huntsville as they rushed to escape their burning building.
Firefighters spent several hours early Sunday morning putting out the blaze.
The fire happened at the Governors House Apartments on Governors House Drive SW.
A resident called 911 just after 1 a.m. to report that their apartment was on fire.
Multiple Huntsville Fire & Rescue units responded to the complex and saw smoke and flames were coming out of one of the buildings.
They worked quickly to cut the fire off and keep it from spreading.
Crews were on the scene throughout the morning, making sure hot spots were extinguished.
Damage is visible to multiple units.
"The whole building is sixteen units total. There's smoke damage throughout it. We don't know how many units actually burnt themselves at this point. All 16 units at this point are affected. Depending on utilities and how much damage has been done to the building, whether it will impact all 16 units entirely, some people may be able to go back in and may be able to stay. At this point, we don't know that yet," explained Cpt. Frank McKenzie, spokesman for Huntsville Fire & Rescue.
The residents were able to get out safely. No one was injured. The cause of the fire under investigation.
"It's sad. All of your memories are there. Our guys do salvage and overhaul and they'll bring things out that people can't replace," Cpt. McKenzie stated.
Residents described how they grabbed what they could and rushed out of their apartments as the flames started to spread.
It was a night Jeannette Bailey won't ever forget. She was with a friend in her apartment when they started smelling smoke.
"The smoke was awful. I've never breathed that in before but I was gagging," she said.
They walked outside and spotted black smoke coming out of the unit next to them.
"So we went back into our apartment and started looking around for what we could save. She came running in screaming and told me to grab what I could. We had to go," Bailey revealed.
Savanah Steele and her roommate also acted fast to get out alive.
"I woke up to a really loud noise. My roommate thought it was someone banging on the window but I just heard a very loud noise. We noticed the smoke was coming into our apartment so we really only had time to grab clothes and get out," she said.
The aftermath was just starting to sink in for those impacted by the blaze as they watched crews working on the scene.
"You get to a point in your life where you think you're ok in your life and then something crazy happens. It was scary and that smoke was crazy. But hopefully it's going to be alright and I hope everyone else is ok," Bailey added.
The Red Cross is now assisting residents. There was another bright spot when several pet rabbits were saved. Those involved in the fire tried to put things in perspective and look on the bright side of things.
"Honestly, I'm just really glad that I'm safe but knowing that I might not have anything is scary. It was hard to watch our home burn, our home that we're lived in for the past couple of years," Steele stated.
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