Firefighters respond to Summerville apartment fire

Flames melt side of Summerville apartment building (Josh Braunreuther/WCIV)

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Red Cross has been called in to help after flames damaged as many as 12 units at Westbury Mews Apartments in Summerville early Monday.

A spokesperson for the Red Cross says the flames have impacted as many as twenty apartment residents.The spokesperson says firefighters were still on scene putting out hot spots as of 3 a.m.

Officials say they know of 23 people, including 7 children, that have been displaced by the fire. The Red Cross is meeting with each resident affected by the fire to determine their needs such as lodging, food, clothing, and disaster mental health counseling and until they are done, those numbers could change..

"It's gonna be a little while 'til these families are gonna know when they can get back in or what they may have that they can salvage," said Lisa Quick with the American Red Cross. "But meanwhile were just making sure they're in a comfortable and warm place and we're helping them meet some of those immediate needs they may have over the next three days because that's our mission."

There's no word yet what started the fire but no injuries are reported. The apartment complex is located on Trolley Road.

Two men spoke to ABC News 4 on the scene and said they did what they could to keep people safe.

"It looked like a small barbecue pit," said Tad Steadman. "I looked back over about 30 seconds later and by the time I looked back over I saw furniture on fire and started yelling for my buddy to call the cops and get the fire department to come out."

"We were like fire, fire, fire. Get out, get out, get out. Just trying to get everyone's attention as fast as we could," said resident Mike Hassan. "It wasn't until they started hearing the word fire and people started coming out and seeing the smoke, they were like 'okay we gotta go.'"

Steadman said he was at the complex helping his friend with car repairs. When they saw the fire, they raced toward the flames to get residents to safety.

"We both went up to the third story to make sure everyone was out. That was the number one goal just getting people out," he said. "And by the time we got up to the third story you couldn't see anything. Stuff was falling off the ceiling just melting and falling down. people were trying to get back up to the third story, I guess to get their things or to get pets but we just told them no, you can't go up there. As soon as we made sure everyone was gone we headed downstairs."

Hassan said it wasn't long before what started as a small flame spread to cover two stories.

"I mean it started out something really tiny like you'd see in a fire pit," he said. "And then within minutes it had engulfed the whole second and third floor, just crazy got big fast."

If you would like to help the Red Cross assist these families, you can make a donation to The Heroes for Fire Victims Campaign which support a family that has lost everything to a home fire.It costs the Red Cross $1,250 to assist a family of four. This year's goal is to raise $240,000 to support 192 families. To learn more, contact Roberta Freer at or call 843-764-2323 ext 386.

Stay with ABC NEWS 4 for more on this developing story.