Residents seek shelter after mega apartment blaze
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Early Thursday morning, North Austin resident Eric Rodriguez was awakened by someone banging on his door.
“We didn't hear any fire alarms, not until much later” he said.
Rodriguez lives at the International Residence Apartments on Cooper Drive. A large fire broke out at the complex just after 1 a.m. Thursday, displacing 60 families and burning three buildings to the ground.
Investigators are still working to locate everyone who lived in the units affected by the blaze. Rodriguez was able to escape through the smoke, but lost everything.
"All my clothes, books, schoolwork, documents, important legal documents, computers, instruments," Rodriguez said.
As for tenant David Koloroutis, he is one of the lucky ones.
"It was definitely one of the most ferocious things I've seen," he said. "I'm left in awe in just how quickly it happened."
David evacuated his apartment, but it was spared.
"I feel blessed that I still have a home to go to, but now I see all my neighbors, people who are working just like me, working every day. Now, they don't have anything to go to," he said.
Mike is a volunteer for Red Cross which is helping the displaced residents find a place to stay.
"There's a lot of anguish. It's a very traumatic thing if you think of the very worst thing that can happen to you, other than death, is to lose all of your personal belongings,” he said. "Sometimes you give them a hug. Sometimes you let them cry on your shoulder. Sometimes words are just inadequate."
The Red Cross is helping residents who were forced to leave their homes. Cap Metro shuttled displaced tenants to the Northwest Fellowship church at 13427 Pond Springs Road. The Red Cross will keep the shelter open as long as it's needed.
Displaced residents tell us the apartment complex managers are working to find them temporary housing.