Tenants Try To Rebuild Their Lives - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/09/04

Tenants Try To Rebuild Their Lives

Neighbors Victoria Plummer and Donna Stamp lost everything in the early morning fire that swept through their apartment complex.

"The only thing we could do is cry... cry and watch. There's no words. My thing is we could've still been in our apartment. We could've been asleep," says Plummer.

"My life is in that apartment, everything," says Dorothy Stamp.

She wasn't home when the fire broke out.

"I couldn't believe it. That's my apartment, that's my life, that's my home."

Rey Gonzalez's apartment has heavy smoke and water damage. He can't get inside until the fire marshal gives him the okay.

"I don't even know if my stuff is salvageable cause it's smoked out very bad and a couple of things I took from the apartment last night stunk up the place I was at. I want to at least open the windows or something to air it out, because it's just getting worse," he says.

Apartment manager Donna Bradford and her staff are trying to help relocate the people who are homeless. As news of the fire spread, Bradford started getting calls. She likens it to the help that poured into New York after 9/11.

"They haven't got anything on Ocean Springs, Mississippi. It has been amazing. It's very emotional, I've got strangers calling volunteering any kind of help or assistance. Local businesses, Walmart supplied us with over 75 cases of water because the water was turned off yesterday. Food, I have enough food to feed an army," Bradford says.

The state fire marshal and Ocean Springs fire investigators spent most of the day at the apartments, but as of late Monday afternoon there was no word on what caused the fire.

Meanwhile, many of the residents are staying with friends and family until they can move into new homes or apartments.

by Marcia Hill

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