The number one cause of house fires in Sioux Falls strikes again. Before sunrise Tuesday morning, a pan of grease started on fire at an apartment building on the 3500 block of West Avenue, leaving multiple families homeless.
It was 4:45 Tuesday morning when residents in the apartment complex woke up to smoke alarms and neighbors pounding on doors to let others know there was a fire in the building.
"You could kind of see the steps, but you really couldn't see where you were going. So I just kind of covered my daughter's head and just got out as quick as I could," apartment resident Jade Blankenship said.
Everyone got out of the building safely, and it took firefighters only 15 minutes to put out the flames. The lower apartment on the back side of the building is where the fire started, but the entire building suffered smoke damage.
With just one unattended fry pan, now eight families are looking for a place to live.
Family and friends are helping some residents move. Blankenship, who’s only lived here one month, says Cyntom Property Management has given renters until 5 o'clock Wednesday evening to have their stuff out.
"I saw others come to get their stuff this morning and they just had this look of astonished, 'What am I going to do? Where am I going to go?'" Blankenship said.
It's hardship the fire marshal's office says it preventable.
"If you're going to be using the stovetop or oven, we ask that you stay in the room or just keep an eye on it and stay with it," Sioux Falls Fire and Rescue assistant fire marshal Mike Top said.
Residents told KELOLAND News they can't get a hold of the property managers to find out how or when they might get their deposits back.
Tom Jones, the owner of Cyntom Property Management, says all tenants can get back their security deposits. All they have to do is stop by the main office.