HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - An apartment fire off Zierdt Road Wednesday afternoon has displaced over a dozen families from their homes and some of them lost everything.
Huntsville Fire and Rescue responded to a fire at the Colonial Grand at Edgewater apartments. Two people suffered non-life threatening injuries; one was treated and released from Huntsville Hospital and the other was kept for overnight observation.
According to investigators, the fire spread through the building within minutes after starting as an accidental cooking fire.
"Literally it went up in minutes," said Kari Campos, a tenant of the building next to where the fire happened.
"We did interview one individual that stated that he had been cooking and had fallen asleep and awoke to the flames," said Huntsville Fire and Rescue Assistant Fire Marshall, Michael Jaco.
Jaco says this is a perfect example of how a small fire can quickly become a real problem. Cooking fires are the leading cause of fires across the country, but Jaco says they're also the easiest to prevent.
"We strongly encourage people to be diligent with what they're cooking when they have things on the stove top," Jaco said. "If you have combustible materials near the stove top, moving things like that away and just really paying attention to what you have on the stove."
Jaco told WHNT News 19 that this building was built before sprinklers were required in multi-family living. He says if the complex had sprinklers, the flames probably would've been contained to the apartment where the fire originated.
"I've seen a few people very heartbroken it just tore me up. They just watched their livelihood just burn," Campos said.
Eight apartments were affected by the fire, but all 16 are currently unavailable to live in.
"My prayers are out for them," Campos said.
The Colonial Grand complex and the American Red Cross are working to help the families displaced by the fire. The leasing office is accepting donations, you can reach them at (256) 461-0677.