MUSKOGEE, Okla. -- 30 disabled and elderly people are without a home after a Muskogee apartment fire.
Officials say that fire was started when a cigarette ignited a chair.
Some of the displaced residents are at family members’ homes tonight, but 16 of them are being taken care of by the American Red Cross.
Calvin Lary, one of those people, recalled, “Mostly, I was asleep in bed. When I heard the alarm, I thought it was just somebody setting off the smoke detector in their own apartment overheating their food.”
By the time Lary, who is disabled, realized there was a fire, he couldn’t get out of his apartment because of all the smoke and heat in the hallway.
He said, “I walked out to the balcony and they escorted and helped me down the ladder.”
Dozens more were evacuated from the burning building.
Erbalene Jenkins, who works at the apartment complex, said, “There’s a lot of people that are disabled and can’t get out as much as people that are physically able to. So, we were worried about our residents and their safety first.”
Lary’s apartment only received smoke damage, but others lost everything.
The Red Cross is making sure residents like Lary up have a bed and a meal for the night and are putting them up in a hotel.
36 apartments in all are without power and are now vacant. The fire marshal is now investigating the fire.