Red Cross assisting victims of Warrensville Heights apartment fire

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WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW)-- Several families who live in a Warrensville Heights apartment complex will not be home for the holidays. Instead, they are working on picking up the pieces after fire and water damage from a weekend blaze.

The city said of the roughly 40 units impacted at the Granada Gardens, eight families have been displaced.

"It was horrible," said Brajanee Gray, who lives and works at the complex.

"They had to evacuate all 180 units out of there. I saw people sporadically running around in the lobby of the building," said Benjamin Bellucci, from the Northeast Ohio Region offices of the American Red Cross.

Gray said she couldn't believe what was happening.

"I had this really bad panic attack because you know I live here. I live across the street and I pretty much live in this building because I work here." She said there was only one thing going through her mind. "I hope my residents are OK."

The city of Warrensville Heights said 10 other agencies came to help in the firefight. Thankfully, no one was killed. There was one injury though of a responding firefighter, who was treated at the scene.

The Red Cross said it's helped 93 residents and provided more than $11,000 in immediate assistance. The organization also said the property managers have been very involved in the resident's needs.

"They've been putting them in hotels, They've been really responsive and it makes our job so much more simple, I should say when it comes to collaboration and making sure they get on the road to recovery," Bellucci said.

Some residents were also relocated to other units in the complex.

The Red Cross  arranged for the families to receive gifts from their toy drive to help make the season a little brighter.

"Clients are calling us saying all my Christmas presents, everything that I owned is either ruined or damaged or affected by fire."

While some may not be home for the holidays -- they do have each other.

"I just really hope that everybody gets to appreciate that fact that they do have their life still and don't necessarily dwell on the fact that everything was lost, because stuff like that you can get back, but if you don't got a life you don't got a chance to get that back," Gray said.

The cause of the fire is still undetermined, according to the city. The property manager told us those relocated to hotels should be back in the homes in a matter of days, while those moved to other units could be waiting a few months.

The Red Cross also reminds those who may want to volunteer and help those in situations like these are always welcome.

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