Victims Recovering after Fierce Fire Burned their Homes

by Roma Vivas
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Building 11 from Coventry Apartments remains closed off after Sunday's fierce fire.  The Red Cross tells us some of the people who lived there where escorted back in to the building to get some of their belongings, but no one is being allowed in while investigators try to figure what started the fire.

"The biggest contributor to the fire spread is the lack of compartment in the attic space," David Hickman with the Midland Fire Department, said.

Sunday morning's fire burned 16 apartments where almost 60 lost their homes.  On Monday, it was all about trying to pick-up the pieces.

"Our main concern is that the apartment management is aware of where the fire started and to allow them to get their investigators in and that the people that live in the apartment are taken care off," Hickman said.

According to Hickman, the fire spread very quickly from the north end to south end of the building.  He says the apartment complex was built in the early 70's and the attic is one big space and that allows fire to spread through the building much faster. Since then the rules for apartment buildings have changed.

"The codes now require that each attic space be sectioned off to different quadrants with fire separation to keep the fire from spreading so fast through a large area," Hickman said.

The Red Cross is helping most of the victims, many of whom were working for a local hotel. That hotel has stepped up and is helping them and other victims of the fire with a place to stay.

"If you can imagine traveling, you are a college student, you are traveling half away across the world, you get to a strange place and few weeks into your stay your house burns down, it's very important to us that we let them know that we are going to be there for them, take care of them as best we can," Keith Dial, Hilton's General Manager in Midland, said.

The Red Cross is helping 57 victims.  They tell us they are all being assisted with food, shelter, and clothing.