Families are picking up the pieces after a deadly fire destroyed several units of an apartment complex, leaving many without a home only a few weeks before Christmas.
A mother of two toddlers says that she’s one of the lucky ones, relocated less than a week after the fire. But other families are still waiting for an available unit.
The fire broke out at the Preserve at the Port Apartment Homes on the 100 block of Camelot Court.
She didn’t want to share her name but she shared her story.
“We had no clothes for the kids, we had no food," she said.
She noted that the Red Cross helped out with housing but, in the grand scheme of things, her family needs to start over, meaning that they're now in a financial bind.
"All the stuff that we worked for is inside our apartment [and] we couldn't get it out," she said.
She said her son missed a few days of school as she scrambled to figure out their living situation.
On Tuesday, she was finally able to enter her apartment and collect a few belongings. She managed to salvage the family Christmas tree, a glimpse of cheer following a tragic event.
Maintenance workers have boarded up windows at the complex destroyed by the fire.
At least 10 people were displaced after Mark Rosale’s unit caught fire. He was found dead in the rubble.
Jose Baeza remembers his neighbor vividly.
"It's kind of hard to believe that he's gone because he was the nice guy, he was kind of like a gentle giant," Baeza recalled.
He says he’s tried to suppress his feelings as he sorts out his life. He’s living at a hotel until an apartment is available.
His employer stepped up to help cover his living expenses but other tenants are in a bind.
He said that some don’t have anywhere to go or stay.
KENS 5 reached out to apartment management to find out how long it will be before all the residents are relocated but they declined to comment.