15 families left homeless after Greenfield fire try to move forward

GREENFIELD (WITI) -- 15 families are homeless after fire ripped through an apartment complex in Greenfield on Saturday afternoon, March 1st. The American Red Cross is working to assist these families -- and FOX6 News spoke with some of them on Sunday, March 2nd -- as they try to move forward.

"I'm kind of still in shock. I don't have a home. I don't even have a pair of gloves -- just what I'm wearing," Teri Schultz said.

"I'm happy they could get some things out that I never thought I'd see again, but everything else is gone," Karen Switon said.

The call for the fire, which broke out in the 7300 block of Southridge Drive in Greenfield came in around 1:00 p.m. Saturday. Fire officials believe the blaze began in the basement.

"You have heat in an environment that there's not a lot of ways to ventilate and get the heat out, and you have firefighters trying to descend in an environment where heat is trying to rise," Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn said.

Cohn says faced with the structure’s condition and confirmation that all human life was saved, the firefighting technique was changed from an offensive attack to a defensive attack.

This prolonged the fire fight, but the fire was eventually extinguished, with only a couple of minor injuries.

The devastation left over by the fire and the firefighting is worse in some apartments than others. Cohn says he doesn't believe the basement extends the full length of the building, and that's why the damage is worse in some units.

The American Red Cross says it has provided emergency shelter, along with money for food, clothing and other essential needs for families affected by this fire. They plan to continue working with these families as they move forward.

"We have to be grateful for what we can get, and pray for the best for everybody," Switon said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A meeting with the landlord is planned for Monday, to discuss a long-term recovery plan.

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