WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Several displaced families gathered at the Warrensville Heights Civic Center to seek shelter after a Monday afternoon apartment fire.
What started as a SWAT standoff ended as an apartment fire. That fire quickly spread and destroyed the whole building.
Families watched helplessly as the flames tour through their homes at Miles Landing.
"I'm hurt, I don't even know what to say. I'm losing everything, the whole (thing) is on fire," said Tamika Banks.
Banks got off work at 3 p.m. and came home to the fire.
"Next thing I know we started seeing smoke, they brought a guy out in handcuffs and then just this," she said, pointing at the fire.
Residents thought everything was lost as the flames climbed higher and black smoke blew in the wind. Thankfully, all of the people who live there got out safely.
"Still pretty rough though, our whole lives are in there," said Clifford Mitchell.
Firefighters pulled several pets out of the fire, including Mitchell's dog Rocky.
"She's a little excited right now, trying to keep her calm, though," he said.
Bree Gates watched to see if his apartment on the end could be saved, even as the building's roof caved in and firefighters smashed windows.
"It's scary. Just continue to utter prayers in Jesus' name, hoping, praying," Gates said.
Officials say 45 people sought help at the city Civic Center -- 25 adults and 20 children. The city is putting displaced residents up in hotel rooms for the night. The city and the American Red Cross will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the next steps to take. Residents can get more information at the Civic Center Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.