Vernon Apartment Fire - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Vernon Fire Residents Pick Up The Pieces

The Shaw family's apartment at the Augustan Apartment complex in Vernon has now turned into ashes and many others like them are now homeless.

It all started around 6 p.m. Sunday night. Fire officials say a fire sparked in the kitchen of apartment 140 of building "F." Tara Shaw lives right next to that apartment. She was working nearby when it all started while her husband was at home with their 4 kids.

"There was like a large bang, pop or something and within like seconds of him hearing that he looked out the back window and the apartment complex next to us was just engulfed and they were running out saying get the kids," said Shaw.

Not much is left of the 14 units in building "F" after fire crews spent hours putting out the fire. The flames spread quickly through the attic. Vernon Fire Chief Kent Smead says that happened because the attic didn't have fire walls. The top units were completely burned and the ones on the bottom had severe water damage. The Shaw family lost everything except for some pictures and documents.

Shaw says, "The material things can be replaced but the locks of hair from our kids first hair cuts and toys that they've played with and things like that are just irreplaceable."

In fact just this morning the Shaw's got fire crews to tear down a wall in their apartment to save an important keepsake.

"They're trying to save our children's crib right now that they've all kind of shared and grown up in and had teeth mark from when they were teething and that's really precious to us," added Shaw.

She also says she can't stop staring at her apartment because it's simply to hard to walk away from everything.

"They're babies, they're not going to remember but that was our life that we were building with them to carry on with their kids and you know, just stuff you gather up in life and it's all gone," said Shaw.

Residents have been staying at the Holiday Inn Express and at the Calvary Baptist Church since last night. The Red Cross and Salvation Army have been assisting residents with clothing and other supplies.

There's still no estimate on the total damage of the apartments. The fire marshal has been there all day trying to find what officially caused the fire.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6

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