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Apartment fire displaces families in Federal Heights

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FEDERAL HEIGHTS, Colo. -- More than a dozen people went to a Red Cross shelter after a massive fire ripped through their apartment building Sunday afternoon.

The fire happened at the Lodge at 84th Apartment complex near West 84th Avenue and Pecos Street around 12:20 p.m. Sunday. Fire crews from Federal Heights, Thornton, Westminster and Adams County responded. No one was hurt, but 14 units were destroyed or damaged.

“The flames were towering 20 feet above the building. It was quite a scary sight,” resident Scott Tracy said.

Tracy was inside his apartment when the fire started. He said a police officer knocked on his door and told him to evacuate the building.

“I thought maybe it was precautionary, but then when I saw the smoke billowing out of the building, that’s when I started to get really nervous,” he said. “That’s when I realized it was a lot more serious than I thought it was.”

Tracy and his neighbors made it outside safely before the fire overtook their apartments. It ripped through the middle of the building, causing a large section of the roof to cave in.

“After a quick attempt to try and knock the fire, we went to what we call a defensive stance where we keep our people on the outside of the structure. We’re going to spray heavy amounts of water on the inside to try and control the fire that way,” Westminster Fire Lt. Jeff Wofford said.

The top floor on the east side of the building was still smoldering five hours later. Firefighters continued to spray water on the structure to keep the hot spot from starting back up again or spreading.

“To see the building burned black is a little surreal,” Tracy said. “I have everything I own in that apartment and that’s really scary. There are things that, of course, are irreplaceable.”

The Red Cross originally set up a temporary shelter but later updated to report it did not get enough residents to open it. It provided a hotel for those with no place to stay as well as money for clothes and food.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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