Apartment residents lodged in hotels after fire at Savoy Plaza

After a fire at the Savoy Plaza Apartments on Wooddale Boulevard left residents of 72 units out of a home, apartment managers placed them in two hotels Wednesday night as they wonder where they will live next.

“We’re going to be able to get the building back up and running and get these families back in their homes; we just don’t know when,” said Amy Mason, human resources director for Patrician Management, which oversees the building.

The residents likely will stay in the hotels for a few more nights, Mason said.

Bernard Johnson, a cab driver who lives in a first-floor apartment that was untouched by the flames, said he slept in his car Tuesday night. He said he will try to look for another apartment, but if he can’t find one, his closest family member is his sister in Florida.

Johnson said he was making a garden salad when the fire occurred, and the salad was waiting for him in the apartment looking the same as he left it — though the basic services like power had been cut by then, leaving the room dark.

A pot left on a stove on the first floor resulted in a blaze about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday that caused $200,000 in damage and led to more than 60 on-scene firefighters rescuing 13 people, including three children. One man went to the hospital after he jumped from a third-floor window to escape the flames, and others hanging from windows were rescued before they might have fallen.

The building’s long and rectangular shape made the fire especially tough for firefighters.

The Red Cross had opened a shelter for the building’s residents Wednesday but closed it that night after Patrician Management arranged for hotel rooms instead, said Nancy Malone, a Red Cross spokeswoman.