Residents seek answers after Willingboro, N.J. apartment building fire

WILLINGBORO, N.J. (WPVI) -- The dozens of people who have been displaced by a fire that tore through a Willingboro, New Jersey apartment complex are looking for answers.

Juan Sanchez and Yashera Ortiz say they don't know what it is yet, but they're praying to find a silver lining after Monday's fire.

Just like so many others, they've lost everything.

"God works in mysterious ways, and we just have to keep our head up," said Sanchez.

"I had my photos," said Ortiz. "A lot of things. A lot of things."

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Boys knock on doors to alert neighbors of fire. Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News Mornings on April 24, 2018.

Chopper 6 flew over their apartment inside Willingboro Square where 24 units destroyed or badly damaged by the fire.

Chrystal Walker's apartment was located on the top two floors.

"I can't even. My heart is heavy, this is everything that I've worked for," she said.

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50 displaced following apartment fire in Willingboro: Christie Ileto reports on Action News at 11 p.m., April 23, 2018

Residents want to know why the fire spread so quickly.

Fire officials say it's because of a few reasons. First, the fire started in - or quickly spread into - the roof area, which is above the sprinkler system.

They say sprinklers did go off, but there were none in the roof.

Second, officials said, there were no fire walls under the roof to help contain any flames.

Officials say that's not illegal and that sprinklers and fire walls aren't typically built into non-living spaces.

To make things even worse, the fire chief and neighbors here say there were heavy winds that enabled to the fire to spread quickly throughout the building.

"All of a sudden a burst of wind came, and every ventilation system on the top just kept lighting up and lighting up," said Sanchez.

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Chopper 6 over apartment building fire in Willingboro, N.J. on April 23, 2018.

Cell phone video taken by Sanchez shows the fire starting in the top corner in the back of the building. Within minutes you can see the building was fully engulfed.

As residents begin to make calls to insurance on Tuesday to try and move forward, they're grateful no one was hurt.

"My son was home when it started," said Walker. "He got my neighbors out."

Investigators are still searching for a cause of this fire.

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