SHEBOYGAN -- The American Red Cross opened a temporary shelter to assist those residents who have been displaced from a fire at the Embers Apartments in Sheboygan early Sunday, August 21st. One person died in the fire -- and more than 40 others were displaced.
"I walked outside and it was an inferno," said Jacqueline Dirksen, one of the residents.
They awoke to the sound of pounding on their doors -- then stepped outside into a nightmare.
"There was no little about this fire. I've never seen, I've never seen anything like that before," Dirksen said.
Fire damaged half of the complex -- the other half was damaged by smoke and water.
"Apparently they're just gonna level the place which is what we're being told. So we're not going to be able to go back in," Dirksen said.
Dirksen is now among 35 neighbors staying at an emergency shelter set up at Farnsworth Middle School in Sheboygan.
"They had to leave the apartment building immediately. So many of them left without the shirt on their back, without the medications they needed," said Steve Hansen of Northeast Wisconsin Red Cross.
With more than 40 units affected, the Red Cross put out an expanded call for service.
"We actually have supplies that have come down from Green Bay. We`ve got volunteers who have come down from Green bay, over from Oshkosh, up from the Milwaukee area," Hansen said.
"We were helping pound on doors, you know, to make sure everybody was out. And there's some people who don't speak English, so I was yelling in Spanish," said Mario Deleon Jr.
Deleon Jr. returned to his apartment Sunday to find anything that could be salvaged. Despite losing his home, the message he wants to get out is one of gratitude.
American Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge, a gift made possible by generous donations and the work of trained volunteers. CLICK HERE to donate to the American Red Cross of Wisconsin.