16 apartments at Ashford Manor were damaged by fire Thursday night
Gerald Hudson looks on at his apartment, gutted by fire
The Ashford Manor fire reached three alarms
Firefighters spent three hours bringing the fire under control
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Thirty-nine tenants at the Ashford Manor Apartments are living off the help from the American Red Cross after they lost everything in a fast-moving fire.
Onlookers and tenants watched Friday afternoon as repair crews boarded up windows and cleaned the mess left behind by the fire, which caused an estimated $750,000 in damage, but fortunately no injuries.
"Man, it's terrible... Really, very terrible," said Stephen Finister, a tenant at the complex just off Smoke Ranch and Jones.
Finister ran door to door just after the fire started Thursday evening. He yelled for people to get out of the apartments, many of whom didn't know the building was on fire.
Las Vegas Fire and Rescue says it was accidental, and started in a utility area that houses PVC pipes. The flames quickly spread to the attic and were fanned by 20 to 30 mph winds. Fire investigators said Friday a small plastic container used for discarded smoking materials sparked the fire. The fire has been ruled accidental careless smoking.
"As soon as (firefighters) opened it up, big old flames started coming out of the roof... About 4 to 5 feet," Finister described.
According to a news release from LVFR, the roof and attic area were completely destroyed, and eight upstairs units sustained extensive damage from debris falling from the attic into the apartments below. The eight downstairs units appear to have heavy water damage, but it appears many of the contents are salvageable.
Tenants told FOX5 it is hard enough paying for rent during good times, but many of them didn't have renter's insurance.
"It took a minute to set in that my life is burning behind me," said tenant Gerald Hudson. "I didn't know what to do. I just stood fast."
The Southern Nevada chapter of the American Red Cross had more than a dozen volunteers at the complex, offering money for food, clothing and three nights at a hotel.
"You look at a building like this and you think that could be anybody. That could be your neighbor, that could be your family member," said Red Cross spokesman Lloyd Ziel.
"I don't have a choice," Hudson conceded. "At this point it's either fold or break, and I don't see myself doing either one. I've come so far to where I'm at now, that I don't think something like this will stop me or hold me back."
The owner of A&J Cleaning Services, the company that does work for Ashford Manor, told FOX5 that on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., workers will be at the complex collecting donations for the 39 affected tenants.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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