Local West End Grill employees risk their lives to save tenants in early morning Huntsville apartment fire

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Seventeen people are without homes in Huntsville Saturday following an early morning apartment fire. It took firefighters about an hour and a half to get the fire under control at Brixworth at Bridge Street, but before first responders arrived on the scene, people concerned about the tenants rushed towards the flames to help.

"We have come out of the building and saw the whole right side of this building on fire, so the officer on duty went ahead and called the fire department," said West End Grill employee Brandon Shaw. "Me and the staff ran around the side of this gate and went knocking on doors to get people out because it was two in the morning," Shaw explained.

Shaw feared people would sleep through the fire.

"We banged on the doors four or five times and yelled, 'Your apartment is on fire,'" Shaw said.

Shaw doesn't remember what he was thinking as he was running towards the burning building, but knew he couldn't stand by and do nothing.

"The firefighters did everything. We got there ten minutes beforehand, maybe eight minutes beforehand, and the main thing we did was getting people out," Shaw explained.

Huntsville Fire and Rescue said one of the tenants suffered third-degree burns. WHNT News 19 has learned that person is in Birmingham being treated for his injuries.

The cause of the fire continues to be under investigation. Captain Frank McKenzie said before they got the call about the fire, HPD did receive a domestic call to the same building a few minutes before.

It's unclear if the two calls were related.

The American Red Cross is assisting the 17 people that were displaced by the fire. West End Grill said it will be raising money to help those impacted.