Apartment complex fire cleanup, recovery begins

Cornerstone Apartment fire

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The smoke and fire may have left the scene, but the wreckage of a weekend apartment fire is not limited to the structure itself. Lives have been turned upside down.

Now the long process of cleanup and recovery is just getting underway.

Fire victims say the only silver lining to this fire is that no one was hurt.

When you look at the damage left behind from the flames - that fact is even more impressive.

The focus today though is on the people who called this place home.

Charred debris is strewn around a building of the Cornerstone Apartment complex in Shreveport's Broadmoor neighborhood, as fire victims recall the fast-moving flames that engulfed the structure.

"It's just nothing like pulling up and you pulling up to flames and like it ain't nothing you can do about it," said 23-year-old Amber Simmons as she fought back tears.

Simmons described coming back from work only to see where smoke, fire, and water had badly damaged up to half a dozen units.

Her little brother, 9-year-old Marvin Stewart, recalled smelling smoke Sunday night but says he just thought one of his sisters had burned something on the oven.

"Then my momma went outside then turned. Then she saw the fire. Then she said, 'c'mon guys, run!' So I got out just in time."

Within minutes a 2 alarm response translated into 50 firefighters, along with a caravan of fire trucks and a medic unit all on hand.

The Simmons family told us their next door neighbor would later point to her own son as the possible cause of the fire.

"She said her son had lit the couch on fire," recalled Jasmine Simmons.

And apartment management said they've been told the very same thing.

Both the American Red Cross and management at the apartment complex are helping the families displaced while family and friends have also stepped up.

That included Jasmine Simmons, who we met on this Monday morning, to pick up her loved ones.

Simmons said her mom and sisters will stay with her for a while, at least until they can get back on their feet.

As for the future of Amber Simmons and her one-year-old child?

“I guess we just gotta start over. We just gotta start over,” concluded Simmons.

The Red Cross confirmed they have opened four cases related to this apartment fire.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to hear back from investigators for an official ruling on the cause.

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