About 24 apartments were destroyed or damaged. Firefighters could not totally extinguish the flames because gas continued to flow through a gas line that was covered by debris from the collapsing building, which meant the fire would continue until the gas could be turned off, Augustin said.
It was unknown whether a gas leak started the fire, he said. Until the investigation is complete, he said, the cause is only speculation.
Several residents were concerned about their pets.
“We have no reports of any pets that are missing,” Augustin said. “We were able to rescue one dog.”
Resident Caitlin Strischek had feared she would never see her dog again, but Marley was saved.
Abdou Benkhedda, who has lived in the building for six years, said the important thing was that losses appeared to be limited to material possessions, which can be replaced.
“I don’t care about stuff,” he said.
But, he said, he didn’t know where he would sleep Friday night.
Red Cross volunteers will assist displaced residents, a spokesman said.
—Staff writer Alexis Stevens contributed to this report.