Milwaukee apartment fire; residents salvage what they can from homes

Brand-new video shows fire tearing through a Milwaukee apartment complex on Thursday, July 4.

The fire destroyed much of the building and a car. Days later, families salvaged what they could.

Years of Keira Smith’s hard work burned in a matter of seconds.

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, breaking news emails from FOX6 News

"Everything that I had worked hard for was just gone," Smith said. "It was just breathtaking to arrive home and to see my house in flames."

How it started

The fire ripped through her apartment building near 84th and Mill. 

Smith and other eyewitnesses say it began not far from an electrical box.


84th and Mill fire, Milwaukee residents forced from homes

A fire forced Milwaukee families from their apartment complex late Thursday night, July 4. Now, they're looking for answers.

"It started from my home, electrical box that sits on the side of my house, it went to my neighbors," she said.

On Monday, the Milwaukee Fire Department was not able to confirm how exactly the fire began.

"It was some people doing fireworks, but they had packed up, left, was gone, been gone, hours before this happened," resident Kristal Reed said.

Residents salvage what they can

Monday, you could still smell the burnt wood and charred rubble.

It was a fast moving fire. Neighbors say it left behind a long-lasting heartbreak.

Resident Fred Sanders said someone broke into his place while he was gone. 

"Not only did we get fire, we got robbed," Sanders said. "They found our savings, they stole our Xboxes, our kids' games."

Families are working with the American Red Cross and their apartment owner to pick up the pieces. But there seems to be one heartbreak after another.

Smith also set up a GoFundMe to help get back on her feet.

"I’m in nursing school. I had electronics to do my homework," Smith said. "I don’t have any of that anymore."

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

However, she does have something.

"I was able to salvage my high school diploma that I earned, and my CNA certificate in my front closet," she said.

It’s proof of her hard work that fire could not destroy.