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Large overnight apartment fire displaces dozens of people

64 people displaced, Red Cross shelter being set up at the Patriot Learning Center
Posted at 5:50 AM, Sep 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-05 11:56:11-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — It took more than 50 firefighters two hours to get the blaze under control at 6480 Olympic Park Pt. inside an apartment complex near Tutt and Woodmen in the northeast part of Colorado Springs.

The rooftop flames could be seen from miles away. A Colorado Springs Fire Department representative has confirmed that the fire was started by lightning. Firefighters also told News5 that lightning caused several fires at the same time as this one in the surrounding area.

First responders say more than 60 people and at least 28 pets have been displaced by the damage done by the fire impacting roughly 34 units.

The Red Cross says it is setting up a shelter at the Patriot Learning Center at 11990 Swingline Rd, Peyton, CO 80831.

There haven't been any injuries reported as a result of this fire.

Large overnight apartment fire displaces dozens of people

Many residents are staying with family and friends or at a displacement shelter set up by the Red Cross. Lots of people have lots of questions and many are wondering why no fire alarms or smoke detectors went off to warn them.

Anabelle Brown and her boyfriend had just gotten back from the movies on Friday night when they came home to their apartment. They saw smoke from another building across the street, and instincts kicked in. They started to honk their horn to warn their neighbors of the fire.

They ran into the burning building, going door to door, warning anyone inside to get out.

"It was a little intense, I used to be a firefighter up in the Tri Lakes-Palmer Lake area 20 years ago,' said Brown, 'so I think those old instincts kind of peeked in, like I said was I was banging and did not give up until those doors were open."

Brown was able to help some of the 64 residents that were displaced from the fire.

Another resident, Maggie Carrino, described the scene when she arrived at the apartments Saturday morning. "This morning around 7 I came to take Beans out and I was shocked."

Crowds gather outside the building, offering clothes, food, support, shelter, and even some emotional support from 5-month-old puppy named Beans.

"There were some people out there and they immediately wanted to pet Beans,' said Maggie, 'and I think beans made a couple of them feel a little better."

One couple who didn't want to be identified had their apartment burned and lost everything. "By the time we got out, we couldn't go back in." They only saved their keys, wallet, phones, and a childhood stuffed animal.

But last night, several witnesses said there was no way of warning people, "No fire alarm, no smoke alarm, I mean we were lucky with the knock that we came out."

The Fire Department believes the alarms may not have gone off because the smoke came from the attic where the lightning struck and the fire alarm systems are designed to pick up smoke from the living areas below. We've reached out to Apex apartment management to ask about the safety equipment, but have not heard back.

But from a tragedy in the night, a community comes together, burning brighter than any flame could.

"A lot of us have only lived here three months, some people just moved in this week, we know no one, but the community came together,' said Anabelle Brown, 'And it was really hopeful that a whole bunch of strangers from all sorts of walks of life are helping each other out."