Buechel apartment fire leaves families homeless

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Firefighters from several suburban departments were called out Wednesday afternoon to battle a large apartment fire near Appliance Park.

The fire broke out at the Willowbrook Apartments on Buechel Bank Road around 1:30 p.m.

It took firefighters more than an hour and a half to put out the fire. While one person was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, firefighters believe it could have been much worse. 
"Everything that we had in there is all in there," said Tyrone Smith, fire victim. "We lost everything."
In a matter a minutes, several families in the Willowbrook Apartments watched as their home went up in flames. Mya Smith was in the unit where the fire started.  
"I was in the bathroom and the lights went off and then the circuit breaker popped and then in my circuit and the little wall socket beside my bed caught on fire and then the fire spread to the bed and then the bed just caught on fire," said Mya Smith. 
She and her brother made sure to alert their neighbors, like Victoria Belezza.
"The smoke had grown so fast, that you could not see going out our front door," said Belezza. "You actually had to bend down for fresh air to get out, there was no way."
For the families on the second floor, for a little while they were trapped. Five people including a baby had to rescued from ladders.  
"What I was thinking about was just getting the family out before me, that's what I was thinking about," said Mirnes Iljazi, who helped his family get out. 
It took firefighters a little extra time to get water, the nearest fire hydrant was more than 1000 feet away. While all the people were able to make it out, some animals were still missing. 
"All I could do was get me and grandson out and that's it, that's all I could save, it was so fast," said Belezza. 
There was no time for Belezza to grab her 1-year-old Pomeranian, Peanut. But in the midst of so much lost, a little bit of hope came out of the ashes, when a firefighter came up to Belezza holding Peanut.   
"All I could say is thank you Lord, thank you for sparing my dog," said Belezza. 
New building codes require hydrants within 500 feet of apartment buildings. 

Officials are not exactly sure what started this fire. Metro arson is handling this investigation, which is standard procedure. 
The American Red Cross was on hand to assist the displaced residents.

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