Families left homeless after fire

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Seven families were affected by a North Charleston condo fire Tuesday and some say they are lucky no one was hurt. Many of the victims are now wondering what is left of their homes as they prepare to rebuild their lives.

One woman who has lived in the apartment complex for 12 years says she can't imagine waking up somewhere else.

"He said, 'you're not going to believe this, your building is on fire.' And I was like, 'what?' " Wanda McNeil said.

When McNeil got that call from her neighbor she says she went into shock.

"I'm hurting," she said. "It's horrible, but I just thank God no one was in there and I wasn't at home. Things can be replaced."

McNeil said she doesn't know how many of her things will have to be replaced. Firefighters told her she wouldn't be able to go into her apartment Tuesday night so she is waiting to see how many of her possessions were lost. She says it is a painful waiting game.

"I'm still in shock," she said. "This was shocking."

McNeil has lived here at the Woodhill Apartments for over a decade. She was at work when the fire broke out.

Red Cross volunteers are working with many of the seven families who lost their homes. McNeil is staying with relative, but many of her neighbors are at a nearby hotel thanks to the Red Cross.

Volunteers say in traumatic situations like this it is important for the fire victims to know they are not alone and help is available.

"We have a lot of volunteers here right now," said Nancy Olson with the Red Cross. "We have about six and they provide comfort and hope after they've lost so much."

Fifteen people were displaced in the fire. There were 11 adults and four children.

In addition to helping the families find a temporary place to stay, the Red Cross is also providing them with food and clothing to help them get back on their feet.

Firefighters say they battle more fires in January than any other month here in the Lowcountry.

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