Ten Homeless After Apartment Fire

By Ben Manning | bmanning@wtajtv.com

Published 12/20 2013 11:31PM

Updated 12/23 2013 11:38AM

ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - A local woman got her three kids out safely after her apartment building caught fire.

The fire started around 7:00 Friday night on the second floor of Altoona apartment complex. It doesn't appear suspicious at this time, but the City Fire Marshal is investigating. Fortunately everyone including the three small children who lived on the third floor got out safely.

Melissa Murtiff lives on the third floor of the apartment on 21st Avenue in Altoona. She heard a smoke alarm go off and went downstairs and her neighbor smelled smoke.
She woke up her kids and got them outside, but she had to go t
hrough a stairwell full of smoke. It was so thick she couldn’t see and was just hoping she wasn’t going to miss a step and fall.

Altoona Fire Chief Tim Hileman says the building has gone through a lot of structural changes over the years. That made it difficult to fight the fire in the dark. The flames also worked into the walls and fire fighters had to cut into those walls to put it out. They had the fire completely under control in about an hour. Hileman says the crew did a fantastic job.

Melissa's grateful her family and everyone else living in the apartments got out safely. But now just days before Christmas, she doesn't know what they're going to do and if they’ll ever get back in their apartment.

The Red Cross and the Salvation Army are helping the ten people that are homeless after the apartment fire.

Friends started a fundraiser for the family with 3 children.  Details can be found here.

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