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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Heavy flames and smoke engulfed part of an apartment complex in Fern Creek early Monday.
Firefighters were called about 3:30 a.m. to the Park at Hurstbourne Apartments on Hames Place, which is near South Hurstbourne Parkway near Bardstown Road.
When crews arrived, the upper units and the roof were destroyed in one building. Buildings on both sides were also evacuated. No injuries were reported, but about three dozen families were evacuated.
"My wife woke up about 3:30," said Sam Heitzman. "She woke me up saying somebody's apartment is on fire, so I went and checked, and I said that's our building. So I went and checked the door and the floor to see what was hot. The door was cold but the floor was hot so I told my wife to grab the baby because it was our building."
Tammy Myrick says all she could was watch helplessly as her apartment burned.
"I saw the smoke coming up and then all of a sudden flames, so I went in and made sure my kids were out and then came out here and watched it," Myrick said. "That's all there was to do."
The buildings are connected, but have firewalls, and it's unusual for a fire to jump the firewall to another building -- but that's exactly what happened around 7:30 a.m. when flames erupted from the top floor of an adjacent building.
"We were cleaning up and they saw some smoke, said Deputy Chief Rob Storrie with the Fern Creek Fire Department. "We investigated and saw that there was more fire in there. How it started we're not sure. We have the investigators checking it out."
Fire officials have not pinpointed the exact cause, but believe the fire originally started in the wall of a second floor apartment and spread to the roof. At least five apartments are believed to have been gutted. Seven others suffered smoke damage.
At least one person was taken to the hospital, but fire officials say his injuries were not related to the fire.
The fire left about a dozen families homeless. The American Red Cross was helping those families find food and shelter.