A fire in the 200 block of 2nd Avenue NW Tuesday left an apartment complex in shambles and renters without a home.
The fire broke out around 7:45 p.m. in the top left apartment of the building. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Fire Chief Cary Williamson said the building was “probably a total loss.”
Fire crews arrived on scene at 7:52 p.m. and immediately began tackling the flames.
Jesus Garza, 44, lived in the top right unit of the building, just next to where the fire broke out, for the last two years. Garza said he was writing a letter when he noticed the window
“The window was crackling and breaking and when I looked at the window I saw smoke coming out of the top of it,” Garza said. “I grabbed my backpack, laptop, notepad and attempted to grab my keys but they were too hot at that point.”
Garza said his keys were hanging on a hook next to his front door where the fire was the most intense. He tried to grab them but they were too hot forcing him to drop them. Garza said he couldn’t see through all the smoke to find them.
Garza ran out the back door of the apartment but the tip of Garza’s finger were burned by the keys. And as he watched the fire crews put out the flames, the burn reminding him of the one thing he needed that he wasn’t able to get out. His keys.
Another resident, Stephen Ford, 22, lived on the lower level of the complex just under where the fire broke out. Ford said he had just gotten out of the shower when he smelled smoke.
“My first thought was to get in my truck and go,” Ford said.
He added that he wasn’t  worried about any of the items he lost in the fire.
“All that stuff in there can be replaced,” Ford said. “I’m just hoping I don’t have to pay the rent for next month.”
All residents were able to make it out alive, and no major injuries were reported. The tenants of the top left apartment, where the fire started, didn’t want to comment, but said they were in shock because they had just moved into the unit last week.