COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - A whole life gone, that's what the victims of a devastating fire tell WINK News. Only WINK news went inside that heavily damaged Golden Gate apartment. The Red Cross says 8 people, including a child, are now without a home.
The fire broke out Friday afternoon around 3:45 on Washington Lane. That's just off Pine Ridge Road near Golden Gate Elementary School.
The apartments damaged were boarded up Friday night. The exterior was blackened and melted by the flames.
Strong and heartbreaking emotions from Brandy Tessalone after she watched her apartment go up in flames. "My life is gone, my whole life is gone. I mean I work at Dunkin Donuts. My hole life is gone. I worked for everything in there" said Tessalone.
WINK News was there as Tessalone and her 2 roommates salvaged what they could. Inside their apartment insulation was all over. There was holes in their roof, along with a lot of water damage from firefighters putting out the blaze.
"I heard screaming outside" said Feguencia Laurent, who is Tessalone's neighbor. She said, "I looked outside my window, I feel like the fire was right by me and I just ran outside."
Investigators say the fire started outside near an air conditioning unit. Battalion Chief Andy Krajewski said "there may have been a short in the A.C. Unit."
Now, these victims are focused on putting their lives together. And with that comes help from the community. Tessalone said it makes her feel good but, she doesn't think that they should have to.
Tessalone said she's surprised people are already calling our newsroom eager to pitch in. "I mean I appreciate it.I don't know,I don't come from things like that, I don't know anybody really like that, so it means alot.I just don't know how to accept it" said Tessalone.
Luckily the victims displaced by the fire had places to stay. The Red Cross helped them out with getting food and clothing.