Apartment fire displaces dozens of residents, pets in Port Richmond

Dozens of people are out of their homes after a fire at a Port Richmond apartment complex.

"As soon as I realized this was an emergency, we needed to evacuate, make sure everybody was safe," resident Marian Flood stated.

Resident Em Olshefski remarked, "The fire department did a really good job. I was stuck in the smoke and they helped guide us out. So, I felt like we were taken good care of, but, yeah, it’s really scary."

When residents first heard the fire alarm sound at the complex on East Venango Street, in Kensington, some did not take it seriously.

"The alarm went off. We’re used to false alarms, so I put on my headphones and when the trucks showed up, I knew to get out. I asked them and they said, ‘Get your cat!’" Angel Morton recounted.

Morton’s first thought was to get her 18-year-old cat, Attica, to safety. "I know it’s scary. There’s so much happening right now."

Marian Flood had the exact same thought about her cat, Cassie – to make sure she got out of harm’s way. "So luckily, I actually already had her in an area where it wasn’t too hard to find her and she was already hiding because of the fire alarm. But, I got her out and then we just got her in the carrier which she’s not too happy about, unfortunately, but the important thing is that she’s safe."

Olshefski continued, "Oh no, there’s a real fire. There’s a ton of smoke. I saw all this smoke billowing in and he’s terrified by the noise and all of it."

Her dog, Teto, says he’s been scared and shaking ever since the alarm went off. "I’m just trying to get him to drink water. I’m like, ‘Come on Buddy, just drink your water’ and I do have anxiety medication for him up there, but you can’t predict when something like this happens. So it’s just like trying to do the best to keep him, you know, safe. Like I don’t have kids. He’s my baby."

She remarked, "They don’t understand what’s going on. You can’t really explain to them what we’re doing is in your best interest. It’s uncomfortable right now. So, yeah, it would be nice if they could understand."

The animals can’t understand exactly what’s happening, but their owners say they do know they’re loved and everything will be okay.

Morton added, "I’m okay, yeah. It was nerve wracking, but she’s out and that’s what’s important right now."

All the animals and people made it out safely and no injuries have been reported. Firefighters say the fire was contained to just one apartment, but the residents are out of the building for now. Some owners had trouble finding a pet-friendly hotel for the night.