A stubborn fire destroyed an apartment complex in Carmel Tuesday and left nine people homeless.
We’re told all of them are related, only adding to the heartbreak.
“It’s just terrible, it’s terrible. My daughter’s lost everything, my granddaughter lost everything. Everybody’s lost everything. We’re having a hard enough time in our family as it is. You know my wife is sick. Didn’t need this to happen. No, no.”
Wayne Elston, a local business owner, says he knows everyone who was burned out of this four-unit apartment building on Route 2, in the heart of Carmel.
They’re all family.
“When my daughter called me, she was in the house and they said she could smell smoke down cellar. Something happened down cellar. And we rushed up and got everybody out and then it just took off, you know.”
The fire, which was reported about 11 a.m., quickly spread and brought crews from all over the area.
Chief Michael Azevedo says, “Middle of the day, as you’d expect, crews are short. I have everything from Pittsfield, Newport, Corinna, Glenburn, Hudson, Carmel, Etna, Stetson, Newburgh. So I pray to God we don’t have another fire right now cause everybody’s sitting here and we’re going to be here for quite awhile.”
Azevedo says that wasn’t the only challenge.
“There’s no hydrants in Carmel. Everything has to be trucked in or come from a dry hydrant. Our dry hydrants are frozen, they’re limited in water supply. It took us several hours to get that under control.”
A ladder truck from Brewer finally helped crews douse the roof of the building, which became too dangerous for firefighters to go inside.
Elston says there’s nothing left to save. But he’s thankful his family is safe.
“There are no words. How are we going to recover? They’re outside here, they don’t even have a coat on, they don’t have anything, they’ve lost everything and there’s so many people here helping, that’s what’s so good.”
Two cats also made it out of the building.
Investigators are trying to figure out what sparked the fire.
Route 2 in Carmel Village is closed and isn’t expected to open until later Tuesday.
The Red Cross has been called in to help the family members.