Roanoke Apartment Fire Displaces Residents

Roanoke, VA - A fire at a Roanoke apartment building has caused{}47 residents to be displaced.{}{} Firefighters responded to the scene on Stratford Park Drive about 8:45 Wednesday morning and ended up treating four people at the scene, along with a cat.{} Crews used an oxygen mask on the cat.In all one apartment burned with{}44 others are damaged by smoke and water.{}Fire investigators say improperly disposed of smoking material is to blame.With nowhere to go for now, Deborah Long and her dog, Wendy, are loading up and heading to the Roanoke Civic Center. One of 47 people needing a place to stay after fire forced them from their homes."I went out the back door... the one on the side of the building. Of course by the time I got out here everyone else was out here. I had to get clothes on,"{}said Long.Most made it out with just that... and their pets. Many needed medication as well, making the evacuation a bit more challenging.{}For Marci Stone, in her first week as Roanoke's Emergency Management Coordinator, the logistics made this event a little different than most.{}"We have to think about not only the people but their pets. We have to think about their medications; their mobility. Making sure that they have their comfort measures. That they are able to be self sufficient for those first couple of hours after an event until they are set up in a Red Cross shelter," said Stone.Initially officials expected most residents to be able to return within the day. But after further inspection, they had to move out more than expected, and some for longer than expected.{}People like Christopher. He wasn't home when the fire destroyed his apartment. Without insurance, he said, his life is about all he has left.{} "I'm just so upset and nervous that I just don't know what to do. I was over on the side of the building justa crying, upset....," he said.{}Emergency Management Coordinator, Marci Stone,{}said she is expecting a concrete plan, from complex management, on what will happen with these residents in coming days.{}That plan is due to Stone Thursday morning.