The fire burned the storage unit right under Centoria Lee’s apartment.
“I heard some noise, but I thought it was somebody drillin’. I seen smoke, so I just wrapped my baby up and went out the door and went to my friend’s house,” Lee said.
She and her 9-month-old daughter lost some of their clothes, baby toys, and the baby’s crib in the fire. But they have an entire apartment complex full of neighbors and friends cheering them up.
Like Michelle Dobyne, who found humor in the whole situation and had our entire newsroom laughing.
“Aw, man, the building is on fire,” Dobyne said. “I said ‘no, what?’ I got my three kids and we bounced out. Nuh-uh, we ain’t gon be in no fire. Not today.”
Actually, everyone we talked to at Casa Linda was in smiles despite their situation — even those who don’t have anywhere else to go.
“Well, I’m trying to be cheerful about it,” Wendell Clark said. “I’m gonna stick it out, though, I’m gonna stay at my apartment.”
Property manager David Bryan says the cheerfulness is pretty typical of the residents there.
“They’re already all taking care of each other, so,” he said with a laugh.
Since they won’t have power or heat for several days, maybe longer, the Red Cross opened a shelter for the residents at the Southern Hills Baptist Church. And despite the luck, they’ve all found a way to be grateful.
“I can’t cook, I can’t eat, I can’t get warm. But I still got breath,” Edward Robinson said.
The property manager said there will be armed security guards on the property until the power comes back on.