HIGHLAND (CBSLA.com) — A fast-moving apartment fire in Highland Sunday morning left 72 people homeless.
The fire — in a second floor unit — was reported at about 10 a.m. at an apartment in the 7400 block of Elm Street.
Reporting for KCAL9, Bobby Kaple spoke to residents — many of whom lost everything.
Resident Natalie Fernandez said, “Everyone literally ran out barefoot. The fire was coming down on us. It was smoky. You couldn’t see anything.”
Officials said seven of the 16 units in the building were damaged. Later, authorities deemed the entire building was unsafe and it was red-tagged.
Resident Alan Middleton tried to fight the blaze — it broke out in the unit next to his — but he realized it was growing too quickly. “I lost everything. I just have what’s on my back … just my pants and my shoes. Everything else I own is covered in soot, burned, ruined, melted.”
A temporary shelter was set up by the Red Cross at San Gorgonio High School. “Our thoughts are with those affected by today’s fire,” said Maxine Margaritis, regional CEO of the American Red Cross serving Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
The Red Cross also announced the shelter would stay open through the night. Currently, they said 40 residents were availing themselves of the service.
No one was hurt.
The investigation into the cause of the blaze continues.