Posted 10:49 PM 9/23/2012 : Apartment fire displaces dozens
TUCSON - An apartment fire has forced about 2 dozen people out of their homes.
Rural Metro firefighters responded to Hilands Apartment Homes before 5 a.m. Sunday. The complex is near River and Craycroft Roads.
It took almost 1 hour to control. With flames, smoke and water, 18 units suffered major damage, according to firefighters.
"It was probably the scariest moment of my life," Patricia Sterling said. "It was huge. It was through both sides of the building."
She escaped with her 8-month-old son Bradford.
"That was all I really cared about," Sterling said, "was getting out safe with Bradford, and the rest of it's just stuff."
Ricky Morrison's apartment was flooded after the fire. He had to move to another unit in the complex.
"I'm just feeling blessed that I was able to get out of the place without any serious damage," Morrison said. "All that stuff is materialistic. It can all be replaced."
Lauren Serpa lives in a house uphill from the fire. She heard yelling and thought her home was on fire.
"The heat was very intense," she said, "even at this distance."
The Southern Arizona Chapter of The American Red Cross gave gift cards to some victims. They may offer more help later in the week, depending on people's situations.
Most residents were relocated to other units. A few others went to family or friends' homes.
Rural Metro Fire Capt. Grant Cesarek said this is a reminder smoke detectors need to work no matter how careful you are.
"You don't know what your neighbor has done," He said, "so sometimes you're doing all the precautionary stuff, but your neighbor's not looking into those things."
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