29 Residents Displaced After Apartment Fire in Odessa

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - A nightmare for several Odessa families. They lost everything when a fire ripped through their apartment building. It happened at the Southgate Apartments on 8th Street just before noon leaving nearly thirty families homeless, but the good news - no one got hurt.

Fire crews tell NewsWest 9, a grease fire on a stove is to blame. NewsWest 9 spoke with the families who are just now starting to pick up the pieces.

Their heart-stopping words coming right at the holiday season.

"They picked up my son, took him out and told my wife to get out," Mario Rodriguez, who's apartment caught fire, said. "They said the apartment building was burning down. I hurried over here as fast as I could and saw it go up in flames."

Crews battled the flames and were able to help everyone make it out OK. But for the 29 people, including several children without a home, they're starting all over.

"It puts it all in perspective," Greg Bunch, who's apartment was burned, said. "My wife told me, well we know what we need for Christmas: a bed, a couch."

"They're just sitting there," Maria Anaya, a resident who saw the fire happen, said. "You can see one of the ladies, she's been smoking a cigarette and crying, her hair's up. She's shaking. They've lost everything."

Red Cross workers tell NewsWest 9, this is just one of several fires that have sparked up over the last week in part due to holiday cooking and decorations. Because they've served so many families, supplies are running thin.

"This week has been very devastating for our community and the Red Cross," Tonya Hancock, with the Odessa Red Cross, said. "We had seven fires in the last week and now we add eight more units affected so the Red Cross is desperately seeking community support at this point."

And even though there's not much left, the Rodriguez family says they have everything they need.

"What was going through my mind was hoping my wife and kids are alright," Rodriguez said. "That's all that mattered to me. Everything else can be replaced. My wife and son can't. That's all that mattered to me."

The Red Cross says they desperately need the community to step up and offer donations to help these families out. If you want to get involved, you can call the Red Cross at 563-2267.