The Dallas Red Cross is assisting more than 60 people who were displaced from almost 30 apartments after a massive four-alarm fire Friday.
The fire broke out shortly before 11 a.m. Friday morning at the Sequoia at Frankford Springs Apartments on the 3700 block of Frankford Road in far North Dallas. By 11:30 a.m., the fire had been elevated to 4 alarms.
Fire investigators determined the cause of the fire to be a malfunctioning chimney flue in a third-floor apartment. According to investigators, embers from a starter log got through a space in the flue and ignite combustible material in the chimney.
The fire then went into the attic and spread rapidly throughout the 28-unit building.
The No family had just gotten back from Black Friday shopping. They didn't even have a chance to go inside to grab their belongings.
"I'm at a loss for words," Dae No said. "It's just kind of scary a little bit because all of a sudden all our stuff is gone, just like that."
Like their neighbors, they've lost Irreplaceable photos and valuables, representing years of memories.
"A poster signed [by] John Lennon, Paul McCartney. That's all gone too," resident Carlos Velasquez said.
A lot of the residents had no idea their building was on fire until David Rohm started banging on their doors. He was visiting family and said he saw flames and smoke rising from a third-floor chimney, where the fire started. Firefighters say embers from a starter log set off combustible materials just outside the flue in the chimney. Once the flames got into the attic, the fire spread fast.
"Just tragic. It's a holiday weekend. A lot of people in town visiting," Rohm said.
"Ten o'clock in the morning, day after Thanksgiving, watching cartoons after breakfast, and someone telling you your apartment's on fire is kind of a scary thing," resident Justin Perry said. "Just as we were leaving, they were coming up the stairs with hoses and axes and kicking in doors."
The father of two does not have renters insurance and lost gifts he bought for his daughters' birthdays and Christmas.
A total of six units were completely destroyed by the blaze, with all additional units sustaining smoke and water damage, the Red Cross said.
"Red Cross volunteers are now making sure that all of the displaced families have a safe place to stay, assistance for groceries, as well as assistance for new shoes, clothing and coats," said Anita Foster, with the Dallas Red Cross. "The holiday season should be a time of joy, but sadly, it can also be tragic because of the increase in home fires. For tips on how to keep your family safe from residential structure fires, just go to www.redcross.org."
One firefighter was hospitalized with a minor head injury. He has since been discharged and sent home. At this time, no injuries have been reported.