CLAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – On Monday residents from more than 20 apartment units picked up the pieces after a fire destroyed their complex.
The fire erupted around 6:45, Monday night at the Meadowbrook Apartments.
Snow made fighting the fire increasingly difficult as water froze almost instantly as firefighters fought the fire.
“The roof collapsed on everything I own. I’ve lost everything. What I have on my body is all I own. This is it. It’s a little bit rough right now” said Melissa DeFrance, one of several residents that picked up some of their belongings on Monday.
DeFrance wasn’t home when the flames ripped through her apartment complex.
Her friend, who has a scanner app, told DeFrance about what was going on.
“My friend told me, hey I don’t know if this is true. This is what’s going on. We drove out here. There were so many fire trucks we could not get through,” said Defrance.
DeFrance had no choice but to wait.
Only a few of her pictures and the ashes of her step-father were saved.
“I’m thankful that I have the pictures. But I have to start completely from scratch,” she said.
DeFrance says her neighbor was cooking. Then everything went haywire.
“I guess he turned his back for a minute. When the guy came out, he said it was all up in flames,” said DeFrance.
Th fire is still under investigation, but it appears to be related to the cooking incident above.
“We have had cooking fires in these apartments before. It just got well advanced. There could of been a delay in calling 911 or someone tried to put it out on their own,” said Clayton Fire Chief Brian Garver.
The building is thought to be a complete loss. Most of the roof caved in and damaged the building internally, along with serious water damage.
A local church is stepping up too.
The Gateway Cathedral off Olive road is just minutes away from the apartment complex.
“When you lose everything, even the stuff that doesn’t necessarily burn up, you can’t even use anymore because of smoke and things like that. You have to really start over,” said Pastor Norman Scearce.
Scearce has family that lost their home because of a fire. Now he’s stepping up and helping the people displaced by the fire.
“We are offering them the opportunity to come get clothing, hygiene products. If they have children that might need diapers or milk. We are in position to offer that,” said Scearce.
“I would say this to anyone watching. Please come here and take and get whatever you need. Don’t feel ashamed. Don’t be embarrassed. This is why we are here,” said Scearce.
The church is there for anyone who needs it. If you know anyone who could use their help, call the church at 937-790-4283.
The American Red Cross also helped the residents with clothing and lodging.