Foothills fire damages apartments, displaces families

Foothills fire damages apartments, displaces families

CREATED Sep 23, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep 24, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
Web Producer: Mekita Rivas

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A Foothills fire raged on in the early hours of Sunday morning -- and was captured on a cellphone -- while most residents of the Highlands Apartments slept. 

Some awoke to the sound of neighbors banging on their doors, which may have saved their lives from the fire that ignited at the apartment complex, located at River and Craycroft.

The video captured voices yelling, "Get out of the apartment. Get out of the building."

Ricky Morrison shot the video, but he too began pounding on neighbors doors to get out.

"People didn't want to come out," Morrison said. "They didn't want to leave their apartment."

Sharon Severson said she didn't leave right away because she tried to save her dog, a dachshund.

"We tried to get him out, but the smoke was getting so thick that we couldn't get to him," Severson said. "He went under the bed, we moved the bed and we just couldn't see him anymore because it was so dark."

The dachshund died in the fire.

Severson said she jumped over her balcony to escape the blaze, while a nearby neighbor had to find another way out.

"One couple had to go down the back balcony from the third floor because they couldn't get out in time," she said.

Flames quickly engulfed six apartments -- shooting beyond the roof. It took firefighters nearly an hour to control the blaze.

Morrison lived in one of the six apartments that is now destroyed.

"Real heavy water damage," Morrison said. "Bathroom. You're looking at a solid two inches sitting there. Carpet. Everything. Water just everywhere."

Morrison told KGUN9 anything that wasn't touching the floor was recoverable.

While Morrison carried bags of his stuff to another apartment in the complex, Severson wasn't so lucky.

"It's just tragic," Severson said. "I lost everything. Every single thing that I owned, especially my dog."

Severson said her other dog, a sheltie, ran from the apartment during the fire and she hasn't been able to locate him.

No word yet on what caused the fire. One person was sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation and burns. 

The Red Cross is helping the 23 families who have been displaced. They are providing emergency food, clothing and shelter, if needed.