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Displaced families look for places to live after deadly Kalamazoo apartment fire
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) Dozens of displaced families are looking for new places to live after a deadly fire swept through their apartment building.
It happened early Monday morning at the Village of Kalamazoo Apartments near Drake Road and West Michigan Avenue.
Firefighters rescued several families from balconies but one woman wasn't able to get out and was killed.
While the official cause of the fire is still being investigated residents are making their next move.
Right now, management is working on getting 21 families into temporary units.
3 kids, a dog, no room, said Omeka Bradford, who has been displaced by the fire.
With her old apartment destroyed by the blaze, Bradford and her kids have been staying with her mother until they can get into a vacant apartment in the complex.
They told us they were going to move 1-2 days then it went longer. Hopefully this weekend or the early part of next week, Bradford said.
Apartment management says it is working quickly to get families into empty units.
But it can't come soon enough for Robert Ryder whos been living in a hotel since the fire.
I just want to get a roof over my head and keep it. Not enjoying the hotel life, Ryder said.
The middle section of the building is set to be demolished but surrounding apartments can be saved once cleared by public safety.
My side can actually be ready to move in in 2-3 weeks, Ryder said.
Firefighters say the blaze started in a third floor unit where Daysi Rojas and her boyfriend were living.
He made it out with severe burns but Rojas was trapped and killed.
Many residents say they're upset they didn't hear fire alarms go off.
However, management says the alarm system has been inspected and is up to code.
We all want answers. It could have been us, Bradford said.
The American Red Cross says it has helped 47 people affected by the fire with food, shelter and financial assistance.
But some are still struggling.
I just feel for the people that don't have family. I know one of my neighbors is in a garage at a friend's house. Some people don't have places to go. They're just lost, Bradford said.
A funeral service was held Friday for Rojas.
Family members say she was in her early 60s and came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic.
Kalamazoo Public Safety has not yet released an official cause of the fire.