An apartment fire leaves Columbus residents displaced

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – An early morning fire in one apartment building leaves several families displaced from smoke and water damage.

Residents at The Colony Apartments in Columbus were able to escape the blaze.

Debris is all that is left for some families living in the Colony Apartments. Walls are burned, windows are broken, and homes are lost.

“We had to act quickly. We didn’t have time to you know, get stuff,” apartment resident, Anshe Wilkins, said.

Anshe and Michael Wilkins live in building 15. The couple said they never expected to wake up to a nightmare like this.

“We were actually sleeping and that’s when my husband, he said, ‘do you smell that, like that smoke?’ And so, we actually got up and then from the outside of the window, I saw something outside and it was actually smoke. And I opened our front door and then that’s when our fire alarms when off, we saw the smoke, and our neighbor run upstairs to get us out,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins said they are lucky to have made it out safely. After their building burned for nearly an hour, most of their personal belongings are now covered in soot.

“You can’t help but think about all the things we lost. You can’t help but think, maybe you could have got in and saved a few things. Saved a few more things. So it’s definitely a devastating loss,” Michael Wilkins said.

“We’ve only been here a month. And so, we were in the process of you know, getting everything squared away and the fact that we lost everything is very devastating. We didn’t think we would experience something like this, but we did,” Wilkins said.

Several agencies were on the scene to extinguish the blaze.

“Fire was rolling out the top and throughout the middle. It was all sides really. But, mainly coming out the top,” Columbus Fireman, Lukas Borntrager, said.

Michael Walker, Public Relations Officer for Columbus Fire and Rescue, said help is here for displaced families.

“The American Red Cross is here for those find shelter, who need it. It’s not something that happens quite often but it does happen. It’s a good thing that we did have the smoke detectors working in the apartments also,” Walker said.

And in this tragedy, the community came together.

“It was just comforting to know that, you know, we don’t know everybody here for real, but everybody was, you know, coming to our aid. We got our brothers and sisters with the Jehovah’s Witnesses that stay over here, so they took us in as well. And, it was just a comforting feeling to know that we ain’t alone even though we done lost everything,” Wilkins said.

This incident remains under investigation.

Investigators said the fire started on the front left balcony.

Everyone was able to evacuate the building, one person was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. They have been treated and released.

Categories: Local News