Neighbors reaching out after fire guts St. Paul apartment building

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A look inside the St. Paul apartment building where a Friday morning blaze put many residents on the street. 

A local community is picking up the pieces after flames gutted a St. Paul apartment building early Friday morning.

People were forced from their homes due to the blaze near St. Catherine’s College on Cleveland Avenue South.

Now, neighbors are making it easy for anyone to help with the recovery.

They need the help because the damage is evident. The roof is charred and the icicles remain from the water used to fight the fire. The victims are coming together to help each other through this.

The lingering smell of heavy smoke didn’t stop Emma Schaper from showing the devastation to her neighbor’s apartment and her own.

“You can see into my apartment, all of the ceiling pretty much came down,” Schaper said.

The fire started just feet from where she sleeps.

“By the time we were getting out, there were flames shooting out of the window,” Schaper added.

“There was a lot of crying last night,” added Ellie Solberg. “We didn’t sleep much. It’s really tough."

Solberg’s friend escaped from the charred unit where the fire ignited. Early Friday morning, firefighters battled the flames and evacuated the building.

A charred Christmas tree may symbolize both the time of year and the added financial pressures the flames are bringing to the people living here.

To help, Janae Kent started a GoFundMe page to raise $5,000 for her neighbors now looking for a permanent place to live, their essentials and replacement gifts during the holidays.

“People had gifts. Things that are irreplaceable. I think anything this time of year would help,” Solberg said.

“We purchased presents we hope will make it but we have to re-buy that stuff,” Schaper added.

The Fire Department told FOX 9 the fire is under investigation, but appears to be accidental.

Since Friday, FOX 9 has learned that St. Paul Fire rushed one person to the hospital and we’re told they will live. The Red Cross helped the folks displaced by the fire, too.

Neighbors are still on the lookout for at least one black cat that escaped the flames. It was last seen wearing a bow.