Improperly dumping hot charcoal caused a fire Saturday at the Regency West apartments that left 11 residents homeless.

The Racine Fire Department was called at 7:33 a.m. Saturday to the 2200 block of Loni Lane for reports of a fire that started on a first floor patio and traveled to the unit above. In all, four units were destroyed, and damage is estimated at $250,000.

Some affected residents told The Journal Times that neighbors alerted them to the blaze, and they were able to escape – with their pets – but lost everything.

“We lost everything. Everything is gone,” Rebecca Cagle is quoted as saying. “My grandparents’ ashes were in my china cabinet.”

RFD Battalion Chief Paul Madden told the newspaper that alarms and sprinklers were not triggered because the fire originated outside the apartment units.

Extensive smoke and water damage left the building uninhabitable, a press release from the fire department reads.

The American Red Cross was on scene to help residents who are displaced because of the fire.

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