40 may be homeless as fire rips through Coram apartment complex

Flames shoot from an apartment compex at 24

Flames shoot from an apartment compex at 24 El Camino Ct. in Coram, as firefighters battle the blaze. (April 21, 2013) Photo Credit: Robert Garofalo

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A fire ripped through a 16-unit apartment complex in Coram Sunday afternoon, leaving as many as 40 people homeless, officials said.

The fire at 24 El Camino Ct. was first reported at 1:27 p.m., Suffolk police said. Coram firefighters, joined by four other departments, battled the blaze, which was under control by 3:30 p.m., according to the Coram fire dispatcher.

Police said no one appeared to be injured in the fire. Fire officials did not respond to requests for further comment about the fire Sunday evening.

Melissa Card, 36, a retail manager who lives in the complex, said she had arrived home early Sunday afternoon to find her apartment filled with smoke and burn marks on her bathroom ceiling.

Card said she ran downstairs to alert a neighbor before everyone fled from the building.

"After we were all outside, the whole roof was engulfed in flames," Card said.

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Card said she doesn't expect anything to be salvageable from her apartment.

"It's only stuff," she said. "Everything can be replaced."

Craig Cooper, a spokesman for the American Red Cross on Long Island, said the agency provided temporary housing at hotels for six of the 16 families. The other 10 families found places to stay on their own, he said.

All but two of the families received financial assistance for clothing and other personal items.

The Red Cross also provided a disaster mental-health specialist for the families.

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