Fire ruins holidays for several families at Northglenn apartments

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NORTHGLENN, Colo. -- Just six days before Christmas, an apartment fire forces 15 people out of their homes in Northglenn.

Flames broke out just before 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Regatta Apartments off 104th and Irma Dr.

Northglenn police officers helped evacuate people from 16 units in Building 17.
Fifteen can't go back.

And for the family where this fire started, it's a devastating blow, so close to Christmas.

"I had lights in all my windows, a tree up, poinsettias on the table, it was all Christmas-y inside," says fire victim Sadie Whitworth.

For the single mother, fire played Grinch for her holiday plans.

"I am in shock. I can't even look at it anymore," she says of her demolished and charred home.

Gone is her home. Gone are her 11-year-old son's Christmas presents--one, a pair of Air Jordan shoes.

"That was the one I was contemplating letting him open. If I had, he could be wearing them right now," she says.

Also gone is her fresh start. "I sold everything in my name to move home. And I started all over. And in four months accumulated an apartment full of furnishings and now I have to start over again," she says.

For firefighters, the weather proved equally as challenging as the flames.

"It was windy and the snow was blowing everywhere. And it was horrible," says evacuee Nicole Trujillo, who ran out into the cold in only her pajamas.

Evacuees found themselves awakened from sleep, out in the cold, and ill-prepared.

But they're grateful everyone is okay.

Although, it was a close call for one cat.

"Crews did find a cat alive. Seems to be doing well. It was with animal control. Hopefully, they reunite it with the family," says North Metro Fire spokesperson Stacey Mulligan.

Sadie's family was watching that cat. Miss Emily suffered burned pads on her paws and singed whiskers.

"Everyone was out safe. And they saved the cat that was in there. That's amazing. Those lives are irreplaceable," says neighbor Logan Bulliung.

But it doesn't lessen the reality--at the happiest time of the year.

"For us to look at the innards of the building, it's just sad," says neighbor Bethany Dorris.
Their home is gone--but they aren't.

"I thank the Lord that didn't happen in the middle of the night and that we were gone," says Whitmore.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The Red Cross helped provide clothes, mattresses and stuffed animals for some families.
Huron Animal Hospital provided free care for the cat.