Residents returned to their damaged apartments Sunday following a fire at Cape Cod condominiums on SW 89th Street and Sante Fe. Saturday’s fire destroyed or damaged 10 units. All were deemed unlivable.
Victims of the fire saw the damage firsthand when they were allowed to go back inside to salvage what they could, while remembering the times the fire started.
“It was tragic,” said Colton Smith, whose apartment was heavily damaged by smoke.
Smith says he was on the phone when the fire broke out.
“I heard glass shattering, the whole staircase was already in flames,” he said.
Smith’s neighbor, Trevor Kinner, was taking a nap.
“I woke up and obviously I could feel the burn,” he said.
Within minutes, firefighters said smoking materials outside the building started the blaze and it spread rapidly.
“As I got out of bed, I heard children screaming for help,” Kinner recalls. “I opened my door, I saw flames falling.”
It was then that he said he and his neighbors had taken action.
“You know, when you hear a kid screaming, the first thing you want to do is reach for them, so that was really scary,” he said.
Smith said he remembered seeing his neighbors jumping onto the roof where the boy was screaming.
“They tried to break a window,” he said. “I know my upstairs neighbor was holding him down trying to keep him from falling.”
The fire was too hot for neighbors to enter, with flames surrounding the 4-year-old inside the apartment. However, firefighters arrived in time to save him.
“The kid looked good, he wasn’t crying or anything, kinda dirty kinda soot,” Smith said.
On Sunday, neighbors returned to pick up whatever possessions they could salvage.
“So far I’ve collected photos, important things, bed frames, children’s toys, stuff like that,” Kinner said.
“It’s all a little smoky, a little dirty, but otherwise it’s pretty untouched,” Smith added. “I just have to clean everything up and start over.”
The fire was declared accidental. Firefighters said the little boy spent the night in hospital and is expected to be fine.