Residents react to being displaced after lightning causes large fire in Northeast Colorado Springs
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- 64 people are without a home after a large fire at the Apex Apartment complex in Northeast Colorado Springs on Olympic Park Point.
Officials with the Colorado Springs Fire Department say the call came in around 11:20 p.m. Friday evening. 50 firefighters with CSFD spent an hour and a half putting out the fire which started from the roof of the complex. Some firefighters told KRDO this was the largest building fire they had seen in years.
"As soon as we opened the door we were hit with a wall of smoke," resident Hudson Villa said.
Friday evening at the time of the fire, 34 out of the 36 units in the apartment building had people inside. CSFD says no people were injured.
Saturday morning, investigators confirmed a lightning strike caused the fire.
"We kept hearing loud strikes, and then there was a specific one when we were ready to head off to bed," Villa said. "I heard a loud bang and woke up my wife. Five minutes go by and we hear, "there's a fire there's a fire everyone get out of the building."
CSFD Shift Commander Derek Wheeler tells KRDO the fire started on the east side of the building and spread to the west. The second and third floors on the west side of the building collapsed.
"I was on the third floor, 310, on the corner," resident Siva Nair said. "I heard it collapsed down to the first floor."
Saturday morning, CSFD worked on getting pets out of the unit. They rescued four but Wheeler says there are some unaccounted for.
"There were some animals that did not make it out of the fire unfortunately on the the third floor," Villa said.
Fire officials say they spent the majority of Saturday retrieving personal belongings from inside the apartments. They say residents will not be allowed back into the units for the foreseeable future.
CSFD tells KRDO they will remain on site until Sunday morning monitoring the situation.