Christmas morning fire leaves 5 families without homes -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Christmas morning fire leaves 5 families without homes

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Photo source: Jose Rios II and Annette Irene Rios. Photo source: Jose Rios II and Annette Irene Rios.

Five East Texas families are spending Christmas in a local hotel after a fire destroyed their apartment complex. The families all live in the Shady Chateau apartments in the 200 block of Gilmer Street in Big Sandy. Firefighters say a section of apartments caught fire at around 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

"I woke up, and there was a cloud of smoke. I called 911," said resident Michael Stevenson "I thought the whole house was on fire."

The Pritchett, Hawkins and Big Sandy fire departments fought the blaze for 3 hours.

"When we arrived on the scene we could see smoke coming out of the roof of the structure, called out several other departments," says Bradley Decuir of the Big Sandy Volunteer Fire Department.

As residents scrambled out in the cold, ten units received damage of some kind.

"About 4 units had fire damage, the rest of them have smoke and water damage so all of them will be displaced," Decuir says.

Some were trying to salvage whatever they could from their homes, and from the holiday.

"They don't know what they're going to do they don't know where they're going to go, we can kind of sit them down give them some guidelines, give them a place to stay for a few days," says Red Cross worker Ken Burgin.

"It never gets any easier, its so hard for these families," Decuir said.

Everyone was able to get out unharmed. Firefighters are still investigating what caused the fire.

All the families affected by the flames are being helped by the Red Cross.

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