Fire erupts at The Oaks Condos in Gainesville

An apartment fire at the Oaks Condos near the Oaks Mall burned six apartments and force nearly 30 people to move out.

As bad as the fire was there is some good news, nobody was seriously injured in the fire. One woman told us the story of how she was still sleeping when her boyfriend physically picked her up and ran her out of the building before knocking on neighbors doors to get them up and out as well.

The fire started around 5:30 in the morning and many residents of the building were woken up by loud noises and somebody urgently knocking on their door.
Nassiya Darcelin and Khadir Trowell who live in the least affected section of the apartment building, which still received water damage explained what they heard when they woke up."I could hear everything going on outside and I heard two people out there making a lot of noise and for a second I thought somebody was getting hurt so I went to the door to see out the window if somebody was falling or something. I overheard them say fire fire so I ran to her and said okay there's a fire we should wake up and go."

Yvonne Alford who has been displaced because of the fire was getting ready for work when she heard a commotion."Some guy banged on the door real hard like bang bang bang bang, kept banging and I told my husband somebody is ringing like the police. So he kept banging banging until I opened the door and he said the building is on fire so immediately I only grabbed my phone and my keys and I left."

The building holds 12 apartments, 6 received minor damage and 6 were considered a catastrophic loss.
Assistant Fire Chief for Gainesville Fire rescue Stephen Hesson explained, " a fire when you say catastrophic damage that means there are no valuables to even salvage out of that area and I would say that's the case for 4-6 of the units, unfortunately."
Darcelin and Trowell added "I've never seen a fire that big ever ( yeah the whole floor is gone. The thing that's really sad is there's a whole family and all their belongings are gone, they have to be gone). Two floors just completely gone."

Alford says she's not sure what she'll find when she goes back inside. "All my pictures all my personal stuff is in there. My driver's license, my wallet is still in there and I was planning to go to California in like 2 weeks so all my luggage was packed and ready to go so you know."

Assistant chief Hesson said this building did not have a fire sprinkler suppression system, and although it was an old enough building they weren't required by code, if there had been sprinklers it most likely would have kept the fire in check probably to the area of origin. The American Red Cross is working with all displaced families to get them food and shelter and clothes for the time being.