COLORADO SPRINGS – It was a terrifying experience on Friday for a senior community in Colorado Springs after a fire broke out at their high-rise apartment complex.
Over 100 residents of the Regency Tower Apartments had to stay somewhere else Friday night. Crews needed to walk through each floor to measure air quality and find out what caused this fire that they believe started on the 10th floor. One major thing that’s still unknown is whether the building has sprinklers and if so were they activated?
“I hope everybody gets through this,” said resident Cynthia Keene. ‘”They come pounding on the door “Fire! Fire! Fire! Get out! Get out!”‘
For the 63-year-old who uses a walker and a cane, getting down several flights of stairs was a challenge. “It was a lot of work.”
When she finally made it outside and saw the flames and smoke coming from her building she said it was “rough, very rough. You just want to sit down and cry.”
Especially since she wasn’t able to grab her cat before evacuating.
“I’m just afraid she might not be with me no more.”
Keene and her fellow residents are now displaced and separated from each other.
“You become close friends, good friends, and then when something like this happens it tears you apart.”
Fortunately, Keene and other residents were able to reunite with loved ones at a check-in area at Cheyenne Mountain High School. An overnight shelter has also been set up there for those who need it as the Red Cross says people won’t be able to return to their homes for at least 24 hours.
Red Cross volunteer Kate Walters said, “We’ve got drinks. We’ve got snacks. We have blankets. We’re making people as comfortable as we can.”
This fire was a shake-up for not only residents, but firefighters as well.
Colorado Springs Fire Captain Brian Vaughan said, “Anytime you’re elevated and the clientele is over 55 it creates a concern for firefighters.”
Though they train in these kinds of buildings every day Lieutenant Don Watkins said, “It’s not only labor intensive, but somewhat dangerous to get everybody out of these buildings.”
Thankfully, there were no major injuries for residents or firefighters.
Crews are asking that people avoid this area as there will still be a lot of police officers and firefighters through Friday night and into Saturday morning.