Fire leaves 20 victims homeless in Rosedale

Posted: 5:57 PM, Feb 03, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-04 06:27:48-05
The flames shot high into the air illuminating the Eagles Walk Apartment Homes when Sergio Duarte awoke to the smell of gas and headed into his kitchen to make sure the burners on the stove were turned off.
"When I heard some noise and I looked out the window and saw people outside and they pointed to the roof,” said Duarte, “I called my wife and just ran away."
In an adjoining building, Sheila Porter heard someone banging at her door.
"He started hollering, 'Fire!  Fire!'  So after I realized what was going on, I woke my husband up (and) my granddaughter and told them to come on out because the building was on fire," said Porter, "We were blessed because ours wasn't touched.  I just burst out in tears because I was so afraid."

All toll---17 adults and three children escaped from the building without injury, and we're told residents here have renters' insurance as a prerequisite before they move in.
But few will ever forget the harrowing scene that awaited them once they made it outside.
"The trees were on fire in the back of the apartment site,” said Porter, “It was unbelievable.  You know what I mean?  I don't know.  It scared the crap out of me."
And despite a total loss for some, they walk away knowing they're lucky to be alive.
"It was a crazy situation... very difficult, but I'm happy no one got hurt.  Now (we) just move forward and thank God for everything," said Duarte.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of that fire, and the Red Cross has stepped in to assist victims with housing and other needs.