Several Zionsville apartment residents were left to pick up the pieces Saturday after a massive fire heavily damaged a building Friday at the Reserve at Williams Glen complex, near 116th Street and Michigan Road.
Some residents lost everything, and others were happy to salvage anything they could, 6News' Tanya Spencer reported.
Firefighters remained at the scene of the blaze, which began at about 4:30 p.m., into the early-morning hours to put out hot spots.
On Saturday, fire crews rummaged through the building's remains to look for a cause of the fire, which displaced 14 families.
"This could take quite a while just sifting through a lot of the debris looking for char damage, talking to residents to see what they saw, talking to other witnesses in the area," said Doug Gauthier of the Zionsville Fire Department.
Residents were allowed to go back in to look through what is left of their belongings.
"I woke up this morning and said, 'It's all a dream. It's all a dream,' and then I started bawling again," said resident Brittany Paris. "But it's a lot better than I thought it was going to be."
Of everything she owned, Paris was able to save one box. It contained family pictures and her high school diploma -- more than she expected to recover.
"I got insurance an hour before I got my keys, and that was Thursday evening," Paris said. "So, thanks to my mom. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have anything."
The apartment complex hired a cleanup team to secure the site. Managers also moved burned-out residents to other available apartments and furnished those apartments.
Sympathetic neighbors pitched in to help, too -- something they started doing before the flames were put out.
"We were asking if they needed a place to stay, if they needed a coat to wear," said resident Angie Ballenger. "Some of them just had the clothes on their back, and everyone just kept thinking, 'That could be me.'"
Only eight of the 14 families displaced by the fire had insurance.
- November 18, 2006: Fire Destroys Zionsville Apartment Building