8 families displaced in Voorhees fire

July 3, 2012 3:12:05 PM PDT
Eight families are out of their homes after a blaze destroyed two units in their apartment complex in Voorhees, New Jersey early Tuesday morning.

Valerie Pena of Voorhees said, "5 o'clock in the morning, my house shook and that's what woke me up."

Valerie Pena lives next door to Building 18 of Victoriana Condos on Roberts Way in Voorhees Township, where a fire broke out around 4:45 this morning. She saw heavy smoke and flames and worried the fire would spread.

"I saw the flames, so I ran out, they told us to get out and I grabbed my baby, I have an 11 month old, and we got out," said Pena.

Voorhees Fire along with other area departments responded. Firefighters were met with heavy flames on the second floor.

Police banged on doors to evacuate this building and two surrounding ones. All eight families were displaced from the 8 units in the building. Authorities say two are uninhabitable.

Another neighbor, Tomika Jester said, "It looks like they have nothing, when you look over there, everything's scorched...that's horrible to come home to nothing, that's horrible."

Authorities say most are staying with loved ones, but one mother and son have been put up in a nearby hotel.

When utility crews staying at the same hotel heard what happened, they pitched in.

Voorhees police chief Louis Bordi said, "While at the hotel, AC Electric...I think.about 50-75 crews recognized that family in need, passed the hat and collected some money for them."

The fire marshal has confirmed that careless smoking was the cause of the blaze.