‘Catastrophic night:’ Red Cross steps in after nearly 100 displaced from Waukesha apartment fire

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WAUKESHA -- A fire tore through the Hillcrest Apartments on Shepherd Court in Waukesha on Thursday night, Sept. 12. The blaze left dozens of residents displaced. The American Red Cross stepped in to help provide them with food and shelter.

Casey Hamill-Barth and Clayton Burt were sound asleep and awakened by a nightmare.

"There was a big strike of lightning that kind of shot me right out of bed," said Casey Hamill-Barth, who was displaced by the fire.

Fire at Hillcrest Apartments in Waukesha

Fire at Hillcrest Apartments in Waukesha

Casey Hamill-Barth and Clayton Burt

"We peeked out head out and there were firefighters on the third floor," said Hamill-Barth.

As the flames ripped through the 42-unit building, dozens of people had nowhere to go.

"Around ten people that stayed here after the fire," said Justin Kern, American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross came in and opened up a shelter at Elmbrook Church.

Red Cross sets up shelter at Elmbrook Church following fire at Hillcrest Apartments in Waukesha

"We were able to go over to the Red Cross and actually get some sleep because we were exhausted," Burt said.

Red Cross sets up shelter at Elmbrook Church following fire at Hillcrest Apartments in Waukesha

"We'll have food, we have places for them to sleep and just somewhere to get out of the elements and collect themselves in what I can imagine was a catastrophic night," said Kern.

The Red Cross will be open for as long as necessary. One hundred people could end up staying there.

As crews worked on the building, Hamill-Barth and Burt were feeling fortunate.

"Our room was actually untouched by the fire and all the damage and we're really blessed to have all those things," said Burt.

Crews rescued one resident from the third floor. Two residents were treated on the scene, with one being transported to the hospital while the other refused further treatment.  One firefighter also received minor injuries but was treated on the scene and released.

The apartment building had fire sprinklers in all occupied areas of the building. The building has extensive damage throughout.

The Red Cross asked people to hold off on physical donations until they can get a count of how many residents were displaced.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross is always looking for your help through donations of time and money. CLICK HERE for more information.

Fire at Hillcrest Apartments in Waukesha

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