Apartment fire victims are getting help from the community

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FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Several families and Fresno State students have begun picking up the pieces after their homes were reduced to ashes Sunday evening.

Fire investigators are still trying to figure out the massive dumpster fire at the Maple Wood apartments was started intentionally. It set off an inferno damaging more than a dozen apartments and several cars.

Among those impacted was resident Carla Joseph. She was sitting down to what was supposed to be a quiet Sunday dinner.

“Next thing I know, I hear them yelling ‘come on Mama we got to go. It’s a fire.'”

Eight apartments and eight cars were swallowed up by the flames within minutes. 50 firefighters battled the blaze for more than two hours.

Carlanda Williams, the Fresno Unified teacher we featured for her magical classroom, lives in the complex. Her apartment saved from the flames.

“They knocked on 20 doors before they got to us. I’m thankful no one was hurt,” she said.

Carlanda is teaming up with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central California to collect clothes and non-perishable foods to help out her neighbors. You can help out that cause clicking here.

No injuries were reported, but among the residents left without a home are 15 Fresno State students.

“In one case there was a student’s husband and children needed to be housed and we were able to do that last night,” said Fresno State President Joseph Castro.

“So we’re prepared to do that and we want to make sure they are well taken care of.”

Some are now left with nothing but the shirt on their back and the question ‘how did this happen?’

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