JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- On Dec. 7, 2022, a Johnson City apartment complex just off North Roan Street caught fire, leaving many residents without a home.
The American Red Cross stepped in to provide shelter and financial support for the people that were affected. Heather Carbajal, executive director of the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee, said they are still working to find homes for some of those families.
“The Red Cross opened 15 cases as a result of the apartment fire, meaning we’re supporting 15 different families throughout their recovery process,” said Carbajal. “About half of those families have found new homes that they have moved into, and the other half are still working through it trying to find more permanent housing.”
The damage from the fire caused the roof of the complex to cave in. The entire complex has been deemed unfit for human habitation. Water damage also occurred from the efforts to put out the blaze.
Elisha Davis is a former tenant of the complex and was living there when the fire occurred.
“When it happened, the Red Cross came out here to help us find housing and give us a card and things like that, but I still haven’t found somewhere to actually stay,” said Davis. Some residents such as Davis continue to struggle to find a place to call home.
Carbajal said it is crucial to have a fire safety escape plan.
“When that smoke alarm goes off, the time that you have to get out safely is very limited,” said Carbajal. “So making sure that you know what you’re doing, how you’re escaping and that you have two ways out of every single room in your house.”
The Red Cross is working to help the residents find new homes as soon as possible.