Rogers Park Apartment Fire Leaves 35 Displaced

CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 30 Rogers Park tenants rang in the New Year by losing their homes. A devastating early morning fire roared through their apartment building.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley spoke with some of the residents who are now picking up the pieces.

“I don’t care about this mess right here. I’m just happy no one got hurt,” said Becky Aranda.

Aranda’s mess: the ruins of her 3-bedroom apartment. From the spot were firefighters smashed through the ceiling to the bedroom, showered with glass and debris to the ruined kitchen, which was closest to the fire, the damage evident, and so was the heartache.

“We wonder what’s like going on to us? We had no idea this was going to happen to us,” said Aranda.

Just after midnight, Aranda was walking back home when she saw her building on fire.

“When I got to the back door, all three floors were blazing from top to bottom. It was a full blaze,” said Herbert McKinnis.

The fire apparently began in the rear of the building with the blaze burning down the rear staircase and turning it into a stairway to nowhere.

But Octavia Sanders, her husband and family sounded the alarm, knocking on doors and getting all the residents out safely.

“My family is ok and everyone that lives in this unit it ok,” said Sanders.

While the fire damaged much of her apartment, Aranda’s Christmas tree and undelivered presents were unharmed.

“It’s so strange that everything got burned up except for this,” said Aranda.

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