Eight apartments destroyed in Sunday morning fire at Sunlake at Edgewater Apartments

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Several people are without a home following a large apartment fire in Huntsville. Huntsville Fire and Rescue responded to an apartment fire in the 600-block of Lakefront Drive Sunday morning.

Huntsville Fire spokesman Capt. Frank McKenzie said eight apartments were likely destroyed, with several others heavily damaged by smoke. Huntsville Fire and Rescue said 16 units are unlivable.

Residents said Sunlake at Edgewater Apartments is known for the peaceful atmosphere.

"I love the water, I love the walk, the lake, the birds, the quiet, the peace," said resident Esther Hudson.

But today was anything but peaceful for several people who live on Lakefront Drive.

"And then I heard somebody knock on my door real hard. Bam bam bam, right? And so I opened the door and they said 'get out!'" recalls resident Michelle Wells.

Around 10 a.m. Huntsville Fire and Rescue got the call of a fire in the 600 building of Sunlake at Edgewater. The black smoke was startling to Esther Hudson.

"Firetrucks and the black smoke and then I didn't know if it was my place or what when I came in," said Esther Hudson.

Michelle Wells lives in the top floor in the back of the building.

"I didn't see flames I just saw smoke when we got up and then after we sat in the car, the flames started," said Wells.

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Huntsville Fire Captain Frank McKenzie said the wind made it more difficult to put out the fire.

Firefighters didn't leave until shortly after 4 p.m. By that time, power had been cut off displacing residents from 16 units.

"Wind is like water, it'll go through small crevices and if you've got a small fire or an ember burning deep inside that building, the more wind, the more oxygen, the more it's gonna breath, the more it's going to feed that fire," said Captain McKenzie.

Wells said things can be replaced but people can't. She's just glad everyone got out of the building safely.

"It doesn't matter to me because we got out and I see all my neighbors out and their animals and stuff so everything else is just fine," said Wells.

The Red Cross was on site to assist displaced residents both financially and emotionally.

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