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Two Die in Apartment Fire, Others Displaced | News

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Two Die in Apartment Fire, Others Displaced

Two people are dead after an early morning apartment fire. The flames gutted 16 apartments, leaving close to 40 people without a home. Investigators know which apartment the fire started in, and the two people who lived in there were not able to get out in time.

Both were heavy smokers who had a space heater in the back bedroom. Investigators are looking into all of those possibilities as the cause.

It took only minutes for the flames to push their way from the ground level of the apartment building up to the attic. Nearly 40 people who lived there woke up to the intense heat, but managed to get out -- everyone except 71-year-old Carl Thompson and his 88-year-old mother Goldie.

Investigators say the fire sparked inside their apartment.

Michael Thompson's grandmother and uncle lived in the apartment. "It's all gone, everything is pretty much burned. It's trash. There's really nothing to even salvage from it," he said.

Thompson says both were in bad health. "I'm trying not to think about that because they weren't -- they couldn't move that fast. Not fast enough to run out of the house."

But other residents were able to make it out. Freedom Mazzarese, 59, who lived in this building, started warning neighbors moments after the fire started.

"There was fire in there and so I started banging on that window," he said. "Went over to the door, was banging on the door and I think I broke the window and I was yelling fire -- everybody you have to get out -- fire."

He even tried to rescue Goldie and Carl Thompson. "Me and him together smashed the door in and all of the sudden, all of this fire and smoke pushed back," he said.

Now, most residents are left with nothing. The Red Cross has offered some help, giving residents money, food and clothing to get them through the next few days. The complex is also moving the residents into unoccupied apartments.

But for the Thompson family, there's nothing to do but mourn.

The fire caused an estimated $2 million in damage. Construction crews were in there immediately to start the clean up and rebuilding process.

Email your comments to Reporter Melissa Duran.


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