UPDATE: Fire leaves 30 apartment residents out in the cold - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Fire leaves 30 apartment residents out in the cold

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - “Someone was pounding on my door and I opened the door and the lady said please call 911 my apartment’s on fire,” said Becky Fredregill.

Fredregill lives next to unit number five, the second floor apartment where the fire broke out.

"The furthest corner apartment and there were flames coming out of one of the main windows and that was it," said Brandon Harvey, a Glen Oaks resident.

Firefighters tried to attack the blaze, but the hydrants didn't work.

"Obviously, it did create a frustrating, but more importantly a dangerous situation. When you lose water the firefighters lose all the protection they have against the elements they're fighting," said Fire Chief Tom Everett.

Everett suspects it was the cold weather that took out three of the complex's hydrants. That, authorities said, led the fire to spread to the third floor.

"Then it was as if within 15 minutes that whole corner was gone and you could see the two by fours that originally made up the apartment," Harvey described.

After a short delay, firefighters were back in business, using two other hydrants. Still, they were on the scene all day fighting hotspots. Working in icy conditions, a ladder slipped, sending a firefighter falling three stories to the ground below.

"He complained a little bit this morning of his hip being sore, but Lieutenant DeBondt is a very hard charger, a good firefighter and he was ready to get back at it,” said Everett.

Half of the 24 units in the building were heavily damaged.

"I was told I'll never be able to get back in,” Fredregill said.

Thanks to a fire wall, the other 12 units only sustained minor smoke and water damage. Residents in those units should be able to get back into their apartments. It’s a small comfort to those who started the day in a warm bed, and ended up outside in the icy cold.

"I'm very sad. It is a little shocking and you hardly know where to start," said Fredregill.

While she stays with friends, others are being helped by the American Red Cross.

Fire officials say there were two women in the apartment where the fire started.

They, and the rest of the residents, were able to get out safely.

As for the firefighter, Lieutenant Tom DeBondt is recovering at home.

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