Davenport Fire Leaves Several Families Homeless - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Fire Leaves Several Families Homeless

Davenport Fire Leaves Several Families Homeless


Crews battled smoke and fire at a building on 7th Street as residents from nearly a dozen units ran from the building with just the clothes on their backs.

After fire tore through a 7th Street apartment building, there is virtually nothing left for nearly a dozen families.

Firefighters were on the scene for hours working to save what they could of the building. This, even as the people who lived there worked to figure out what is next.

Many of them lost everything, just two days after Christmas.

"I went outside to take my kids out -- there's one right here next to me and there's one behind me -- and my other kid's mom yelled out, 'There's a fire! There's smoke!' so I ran up the stairs and get everybody out soon as I can," said David Eitel, one renter in the building.

Residents were running out with just the clothes on their backs and whatever they could carry.

Arriving firefighters were told people were still inside.

"Our first priority was to get everybody out of the building, and as a consequence, the fire got a little further along," said Davenport Fire Department District Chief Mike Ryan.

On the scene, you could see smoke pouring from doors and windows, and flames shooting from the back of the building and its roof, where firefighters worked furiously to save the building.

Firefighters on the roof were cutting a hole for ventilation when they were almost overcome by flames.

"We were in a precarious position right there, trying to maintain a level of safety at the same time," Ryan explained.

Some families who lived in the building are in a difficult position now, too.

With nothing left and nowhere to go, they're depending on the Red Cross for help.

"Whenever somebody's affected, we want to make sure that they have a safe place to stay, that they have food, clothing - if their prescription medications are lost, that they have access to that type of thing," Brooke Mehaffey, Red Cross Regional Communications Manager, said.

Red Cross volunteers are ready to help 24/7. They've had to help a lot more this year than usual.

"On average, we respond to about 185 disasters, so far we've helped 112 families," Mehaffey explained.

And, she says, just halfway through its fiscal year, with no firm numbers yet, our local Red Cross is already over-budget.

But when there are disasters, like the fire at the Davenport apartment building on Friday, there is no choice.

At this point, crews say it is still too early tell exactly how much damage there is to the building.

Officials say it is also too early to determine the cause of the fire.

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