Several residents displaced after fire at Pinehurst Villas Apartments in Opelika

A resident speaks out about her experience.
Updated: Feb. 18, 2021 at 7:24 PM EST
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - An apartment fire early Thursday morning in Opelika caused severe damage and left several families without a place to call home.

Shaquetta Sanders was asleep when the fire broke out.

“I’m very devastated, Sanders said. “I lost everything. I was in the house asleep when I smelled the fire, smelled the smoke. The only thing I could do was get my kids out and just run out.”

The Opelika Fire Department got a call for the fire at Pinehurst Villas just before 5 a.m. Thursday. According to Opelika fire inspector Bob Parsons, firefighters saw that flames were coming out of the roof, windows, and eaves.

“The glow of this fire, I believe, was seen from several blocks away. The responding units mentioned that they could see significant glow and smoke on the horizon as they were enroute,” said Parsons.

The upper left half of the apartment was fully engulfed, causing a problem for the bottom floor too.

“As I ran out my apartment, as soon as I ran out, my apartment just went, you know, caved in. The top apartment caved in on mine,” said Sanders.

In order to fight the blaze, firefighters used their ladder trucks to spray water from above to bring the fire under control and relieve any hot spots. Parsons said the upstairs was too unstable for firefighters. Only one person was taken to the hospital, but eight families had their homes severely damaged.

“It may well be a total loss. Right now, we’re working with the Red Cross and management here to make sure that these residents have somewhere to go, because they won’t be returning to this building any time soon,” said Parsons.

The Pinehurst Villas community is asking for the city to help these residents in this time of need.

“Whether it’s food, clothes, furniture, I’m willing to be gracious enough to accept that, and I just thank everybody who’s willing to help me,” said Sanders.

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