GIBRALTAR (WWJ) – A faulty furnace is being blamed for an apartment house fire in Gibraltar at the Marina Bay complex that left several families without homes just days before Christmas.

WWJ Newsradio 950’s Ron Dewey spoke with 11-year-old Malik Ford and his mother, who were among those who escaped the flames outside their door.

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“When the fire was my mom heard somebody knocking at the door. I was upstairs sleeping, so she woke me up, I put on my clothes and ran outside,” he said. “Next door the fire was coming out of the door, like coming up and going to the roof.”

Everyone was able to escape without injury.

The fire destroyed the eight-unit apartment when it broke out at around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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While it’s never a good time for a fire, Adam Range, one of the residents who lost his possessions, said the timing — a few days before Christmas — makes it especially sad.

“In fact, I was kinda laughing at myself a little bit. I’m sort of a procrastinator. Had I procrastinated one more day I wouldn’t have had any Christmas presents in there,” said Range. “I did all my shopping yesterday morning.”

“I gotta give the cliché answer, you know … no loss of life. Everybody’s OK,” he said.

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Police have been taking calls from member of the community who want to help the burned out residents. Donations can be made to the Red Cross who is now helping those families who have no place to go.