Two dozen living in shelter after west side apartment fire

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – More than two dozen people are crying out for help after nearly losing everything they own in a fire Wednesday morning on the city’s west side.

Many of those families are seeking shelter at the Dodge Recreational Center.

The fire happened around 2:40am at the Central Gardens Apartments on West Rich Street.

All day investigators have been working to determine what caused the building to go up in flames.

As of 11pm Wednesday night, 24-people were staying at the recreational center for shelter.

Summer Dickerson says she lost everything and now has to start all over.

“We don’t have anything, don’t  have anything. I can’t even take a shower if I wanted to. I don’t have any clothes, I have nothing,’ said Dickerson. “This is just like, it’s not fair. I lost everything. It really has not hit me yet, but when it does it’s going to hit me hard.”

Dickerson says it was the fire alarm and the smell of smoke that woke her up out of her sleep.

“I went to my door and opened it. You felt the heat and the smoke coming so fast, I tried to go to the side door.”

That door was stuck. Dickerson did the only thing she could do to save herself and her family and that was to jump from the second-floor window, her 17-year-old daughter going first.

“I’m like you go to jump. She said, ‘I can’t.’ I pushed her out the window. Boyfriend too. I went behind them.”

Once outside, Dickerson says she saw little babies, children and adults being thrown out their windows. People running around trying to help.

Now Dickerson is forced to rebuild her life all over again.

“I thank God we are here. I’m blessed to be here that’s all I can sit here and say.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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