Apartment Complex Fire in McAllen Leaves Families Displaced
UPDATE (5/8): The McAllen Fire Marshalls are expecting to have an answer to the cause of the fire by Friday.
Investigators believe the fire started in one apartment and spread to others.
They're currently collecting witness statements and examining what happened before releasing a report.
MCALLEN – A fire broke out at an apartment complex in McAllen, leaving many families displaced.
The fire sparked and then raged all while many residents laid their head down for the night.
According to McAllen Fire Chief Rafael Balderas, the fire ignited in one apartment, then spread through the connected roof and funneled smoke into the adjacent apartments.
Resident Maria O’Canas speaks on the moment firefighters showed up at her door, shortly after 5 a.m.
"I heard the banging," she says.
"All of a sudden I got up and I ran, and all of the sudden the alarm went off," says O’Canas.
The Red Cross has evaluated the damage and is offering services for those affected in the fire.
The organization is now collecting information from the people affected before they put them in a hotel for a number of days.
After that time's up, they refer the case to a network of other groups in the Rio Grande Valley.
"If there's a family that's been displaced and they've exhausted those hotel coupons or hotel vouchers, they can come to the Salvation Army and stay with us at no charge," says Captain Stephen Correira, of the Salvation Army.
In addition to shelter services for families, Correira says victims can seek rapid rehousing, which is a rent subsidy.
"We want to make sure that they achieve self-sustainability," he says.