By Melissa Garcia
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Neighbors are helping neighbors after a blaze at an apartment complex near Iliff and Quebec in Denver. Fire broke out at the Covington Apartments on Trenton Way just after 8 p.m. Sunday.
A South Metro Fire Rescue official said flames and water damaged 12 of the building’s 24 units. The fire left dozens of residents without their homes on the New Year’s Eve holiday.
One resident captured video of flames shooting and smoke billowing from the three-story building.
“It was scary,” said Laurel Trujillo, an evacuee.
“At my apartment, the bush was on fire. And the door was locked. So I had no phone, no keys, no wallet,” said David Hobbs.
“I think I’m in a little bit of shock,” said Ariel Ingalls, who returned Monday to collect what she could salvage of her belongings.
“(This is) One of my picture frames,” she said, holding up a frame filled with photos of herself with her friend.
Without shoes, Ingalls was still wearing the same soaked slippers from when she ran out into the bitter cold the night before to escape the blaze. As the fire burned, her boyfriend went back inside to save their cat.
“It was absolutely horrifying,” Ingalls told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
All animals and people escaped the flames safely.
“My roommate called and said he had the dogs. That was a major relief,” said Luke Yeager.
Some residents, like Elizabeth Esteban, lost almost everything.
“It’s just devastating,” Esteban said. “Everything’s wet. I can’t really grab anything… it’s not the best way to bring in the new year.”
Her neighbor, Adam Rivera, plans to donate clothes to displaced neighbors.
“Things can be replaced. But people can’t. And that’s the most important thing is that nobody was hurt,” Rivera said.
A nearby business also stepped up to help evacuees, including Trujillo and her boyfriend.
“We headed over to Comrade Brewing where they stayed open late for us and let us bring the dogs in and have a beer until the fire was out,” Trujillo said.
For the longer term, some of the evacuees did not know where they were going to live.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do after this,” Esteban said.
The Red Cross was working with families to provide temporary shelter. Others were staying with family members. As of Monday afternoon, fire investigators had not determined the cause of the fire.