Fire at Country Club West Apartments displaces 8 families - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Fire at Country Club West Apartments displaces 8 families

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

A 2-alarm fire at the Country Club West Apartments Tuesday morning left 8 families without homes on Christmas Eve.

"I'm freezing, I'm cold, and I'm frightened to death that everything is going to be burned up in my apartment," said tenant, Jacqueline Bielunis a she stood shivering on the sidewalk.

The fire broke out around 8:30 a.m. at the apartment complex in the 4300 block of Lakeshore Drive, heavily damaging the building. Everyone got out safely, however, and firefighters were even able to save Christmas presents from the flames.

Fire crews had a difficult time accessing portions of the building in order to put water on the fire. Sanders said fire fighters had to cut through sheet metal to gain access to the attic. Fire fighters could be seen using a ladder truck to reach the sheet metal.

"Everyone in the building has gotten out safely. They were all evacuated prior to the fire department's arrival," said Fred Sanders with the Shreveport Fire Department.

"All we got is a knock on the door, get out, get out," said Bielunis.

The Shreveport Fire Department says investigators determined that the fire originated on the balcony of apartment #302.  Although the exact cause of the fire remains under investigation, the occupant told investigators that he used a smoker on the balcony the previous evening but removed ashes from the smoker only 45 minutes prior to the report of the fire. 

Apartment management is working to relocate families to sister apartment complexes and the local Red Cross is on scene assisting with their immediate needs.  To assist with helping these families, contact the local Red Cross at 318-865-9545.

As a safety reminder to all, The Shreveport Fire Department also issued this reminder from  the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1, which has been adopted by the City of Shreveport, states "For other than one- and two-family dwellings, no hibachi, grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose shall be used or kindled on any balcony, under any overhanging portion or within 10 feet of any structure." 

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