Fire victims still seeking normalcy week after fire

By Ava Wilhite

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) It was the smell of fire not cooking food that woke a future chef a week ago during an apartment fire that damaged 16 units.

"I woke up because I smelled something funny. I though, 'This can't be something someone is cooking because it smelled like tar,'" said Lerone Ingram, a Culinary Arts student at the Arts Institute of Charleston.

Ingram said when he realized it was a fire, he ran to wake his roommate and neighbors who are also students at the institute.

"The black smoke was just burning your eyes. When I was calling my roommate, the black smoke was already taking over my voice and everything, because it felt like I had Strep throat after I got out," said Ingram. {}

Ingram said his only way out was to break a window and jump. The other students followed him out. Ingram said they all escaped with a few cuts from the glass, but it's been hard to get back to normal.

"I'm just like, 'How do you expect us to go back to class when we lost everything for class?" he asked.

The apartments are now secured with a fence to prevent people from going back in. A total of 16 units were damaged in the fire.{}{}{}

"We worked one on one with the apartment complex to make sure that those residents were able to find temporary housing," said Lexie Leyman with the Palmetto Region American Red Cross. {}

Mike Julazadeh with the Charleston fire department said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.