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Pico Rivera residents affected by fire not allowed back into apartments for 3-5 days

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Residents who lived in a Pico Rivera apartment complex that went up in flames were allowed to enter the only building not damaged by the fire to pick up personal items Friday. (KABC)

Residents who lived in a Pico Rivera apartment complex that went up in flames were allowed to enter the only building not damaged by the fire to pick up personal items Friday.

Many escaped the massive blaze Thursday afternoon with very little.

"We were on the other side, luckily my apartment unit, I think, is OK. But I thought the whole thing was just going to blow up," resident Sofia Carvalho said.

Flames erupted around 3:30 p.m. in a third-floor unit of the building and quickly spread. Firefighters battled the fire to prevent it from engulfing the other connected buildings in the complex.

Forty-five units were damaged or destroyed, while 141 in total were affected and left about 300 people displaced.

"All the damage, little by little you get it back, you know? But you don't get a life back," Karina Luna said.

Luna and her family lived in the now red-tagged building that sustained the brunt of the damage. She fears she lost everything. On Friday, Luna and other residents picked up donated clothing and ate dinner at an evacuation center.

"There's a lot of people donating, I mean, we're not left behind. We might not have a home, but we're all together in this," she said.

Officials said the destructive blaze may have been sparked by pluming work. Residents of units that were not impacted by the flames were told they may not be able to return to their homes for three to five days.

"It's hard right now, especially with my son. He's 2-years-old and the daycare is over here and my job is like 3 miles away. So it's going to be hard," Coryne Payan said.

Councilman David Armenta said that until utilities, such as gas, water and electricity, are back on, no one can return to their home.

Donations are still being accepted at the evacuation center in Rivera Park. Officials said it will remain open as long as needed.
Related Topics:
shelterapartment firefirefirefightersPico RiveraLos Angeles County
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