BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than 170 people are forced out of their homes, many of them senior citizens, after a two-alarm fire ripped through an apartment complex in East Baltimore.

Amy Yensi spoke to displaced residents staying at a temporary shelter and has more on the community impact.

The number of people coming here for help has been climbing steadily. Right now they can’t go back home and it’s not clear what’s left in their apartments.

“You could see the fire on the roof and nothing but black smoke.”

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The smoke’s cleared and ashes settled but uncertainty is rising.

“Where are we going to be at for the next month because it’s going to take at least a month to fix that. The whole roof is gone,” says Lanvale Towers resident Teresa Gary. She just moved into the complex in October.

More than 170 people who live 1300 East Lanvale street, were forced out their homes on Easter Sunday, when a 2-alarm fire ripped through the top floors and destroyed the roof.

Now, the 8-story building for seniors and their families is shut down, leaving dozens of people in limbo.

“I don’t even know if we’ve got a home to go back to,” says resident Sharon Johnson.

The Red Cross and city is transforming the Oliver Community Center on Federal street into a shelter. By Monday afternoon, more than 40 people had come the Center for emergency help, and the number is expected to rise.

“We are here to provide whatever they need for their immediate recovery,” says Lenore Koors, with the American Red Cross.

Most residents ran out with just the clothes on their backs. The Red Cross is providing them with comfort bags with personal hygiene items and blankets, but they say it’s just not enough.

“I go to school for medical assistance. All my books are in there. My uniform. My son’s clothes,” says Brittany Coleman.

Many things she may not be able to replace, as she waits for answers.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. WJZ reached out to the management company and are waiting to hear back.


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