At least 12 displaced by Phoenix apartment fire

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- An early morning Phoenix apartment fire has left more than a dozen people, including 9 children, in need of shelter.

The American Red Cross is trying to assist the children and five adults after a fire broke out around 3 a.m. in an apartment building near Indian School Road and 26th Avenue.

"We just heard something like rocks hitting ... our front door. I didn't think anything of it," Lydia Acebedo told 3TV. "I smelled smoke but I didn't think anything. I thought somebody was cooking above me or something."

Acebedo said her husband opened their front door and saw flames.

Phoenix Fire Department spokesman Ruben Saavedra says the fire started in a third-floor unit of the three-story building. The fire trail appeared to stretch from the base of a stairwell to the third floor.

Saavedra said one person was trapped, but firefighters were able to get that person out safely.

No injuries were reported.

"I came out screaming bloody murder for everybody to hear me. I got everybody out," Acebedo said.

She called her son, Jose Alvarez, a superhero for helping his other siblings out of the apartment through a window since the front door was blocked by flames. There were 14 people inside that unit at the time.

The fire department said four units were affected.

"My door's gone, my ceiling's broken in ... there's water everywhere in my apartment. All my bedrooms are full of water. Everything's just destroyed," Acebedo said.

But the mother added she is thankful everyone got out of the building unharmed.

"We're all out. We're all safe. Thank God for that," she said. "The turnout could have been worse, but we're out."

Saavedra says the cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but residents suspect the fire was intentionally set. Investigators have not ruled out arson.

To the possible arsonist, Acebedo sends this message, "I hope you come forward because you destroyed a big family and we did not deserve this."