CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland firefighters battled intense flames at an apartment building that forced dozens of residents from their homes early Monday morning.
Crews first responded to the apartment building in the 7000 block of Garden Valley Avenue around 3:35 a.m. for a grease fire in a kitchen
Firefighters were able to quickly control the fire, but the flames rekindled and spread into the roof and adjacent apartments.
Crews later returned as heavy smoke and flames billowed from the building's roof.
The fire department said that the building originally had float roofs, and at some point they were outfitted with pitched roofs, and that created a "false attic" with tile in-between. This made it had for fire crews infrared equipment from detecting fire that was burning beneath the roof.
Monday morning's winds and difficulty accessing the burning building parts proved challenging for firefighters, taking them over two hours to finally get the fire under control. The fire spread from buildings 7000-7012.
Lauren Lawler lives on the second floor of the building.
"I can't even get in the building to get my stuff. All my stuff is like burned down," Lawler said. "I go to work. So, I work hard for the things that I get like my screen TV, my bed that I worked hard for, my clothes."
According to Cleveland firefighter Mike Norman, at least 60 people have been displaced from their apartments. One person was transported to an area hospital, but her injuries are believed to be minor.
Like many in the building, Lawler lost everything but her life.
"Now, I don't have nothing. I have to start over. They're trying to get everybody into homeless shelters, get them cots. They're not trying to do anything. It's just bad for everyone down here. It's just a sad moment right now," said Lawler.
In all 29 families, totaling more than 60-people, were displaced. Five Families have been placed in vacant units. The company that manages these units in Rainbow Terrace says it's working to find those burned out other places to stay.
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