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Dozens Displaced After Apartment Building Fire

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Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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RANDALLSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — Up in flames. A Randallstown apartment building fire caught fire over the weekend, leaving many families without a home. Now Baltimore County fire investigators are trying to determine how it started.

Rochelle Ritchie has more.

Fire investigators still have not figured out what caused the fire and say it could be weeks before residents know what sent their home up in flames.

It happened just before midnight on Sunday. Orange flames billowed from the top of two apartment buildings in Randallstown. The fire caused a glow in the dark sky as it rolled through two buildings at Garden View Apartments in a matter of minutes.

“We were just fortunate we weren’t over there,” said Sherry Williams.

Williams lives across from where the flames devoured her neighbor’s home. The smell of burning furniture and appliances seeped into her apartment.

“Everything over there…everything was lost. It’s just sad,” Williams said.

Her husband says residents could only stand and watch helpless, as everything burned.

Baltimore County firefighters do not have a cause but say the fire started in a third floor apartment, traveling through the attic to another building.

“The biggest challenge was getting into the attic and getting it out. Once it vented through the roof, we were able to get ladder pipes off our trucks and extinguish it that way,” said Lt. Paul Massarelli.

It took nearly two hours for firefighters to put the fire out.

The damage to the building is severe. Everyone made it out alive and nobody was hurt.

Massarelli credits the lives saved to the smoke detectors in the apartments.

“That’s a bad time of the morning and they were awakened by the smoke detectors and got out,” he said.

The apartment complex was able to put several families in new units. Eleven other families were given a place to stay by the Red Cross.

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