Fire crews battle three-alarm Norristown apt. fire, two dozen displaced

Flames rose into the sky as a massive three-alarm fire rips through a Montgomery County apartment complex, leaving two dozen people without a place to stay.

Ten units at the sprawling Montgomery Mills apartment complex in Norristown were destroyed by a fast moving fire Saturday and the victims scramble to find places to stay.

Officials are looking to find the cause of the blaze. The day was an exhausting one for firefighters. Dozens of them worked through the heat of the afternoon the dangers of battling a three-alarm fire.

"I just opened my door and all I saw was flames. I ran down to see if anyone needed help," said witness Jessica Coleman.

Cell phone video captured the massive fire that ripped through ten apartments at the Norristown complex.

"When we arrived, we found heavy fire coming from the building extending to the other portions of the building," said Tom O'Donnell, the Norristown Fire Chief.

"I was just taking a nap. I heard a bang and someone was banging on our door and then we all panicked. The fire spread very fast," Shobha Gopal explained.

So fast, the Gopal family got out with the clothes they're wearing.

"We just got out and the whole corridor was filled with smoke. About two to three minutes after, it just exploded into flames and the whole thing went up," said Vin Gopal.

Close to 100 firefighters from 15 area companies did everything they could to try to contain the spread of the intense flames and make sure everyone got out.

"Portions of the building had collapsed earlier in the incident, so we were limited as to what we could do," Chief O'Donnell explained.

They also had to bring in extra manpower specifically to make sure they had the water supply to deal with the massive fire.

"We brought in a task force who are specifically trained to bring in large amounts of water to the scene when we need it quickly and that was accomplished in short order," Chief Donnelly stated.

"It was scary. My heart is racing. I feel bad for the people that live there," said Coleman.

The Red Cross and apartment management are helping the tenants who lost their homes and belongings.

Fire officials started their investigation and will continue searching for a cause of the fire.