Valley Cottage apartment complex fire leaves 16 families homeless

Posted: Updated:
VALLEY COTTAGE -

More than a dozen families in Rockland County are now homeless after a massive fire ignited at their apartment complex Sunday afternoon.    

A massive fire tore through the 16-unit complex in the Sierra Vista Apartments in Valley Cottage, leaving four people injured and 16 families homeless. A burned-out apartment building with no roof and charred remains are all that is left.

Building superintendent Bob Mistretta says everyone is lucky to be alive. One man remains in Westchester Medical Center after being rushed there in critical condition Sunday.

"I just spoke to his nephew this morning, and he went down to see him. And I asked him how he was and he said they just let him see for a little while. His face was all black and he lost his hair," says Mistretta.

Authorities say it took 11 different fire departments more than two hours to battle the fire, which broke out around 2:30 p.m.

Less than 24 hours later, arson investigators were on scene to figure out what sparked the fast-moving fire, which allegedly began on the deck of a first-floor unit.

News 12 was told it was a life-or-death situation for some residents. Firefighters say that one couple used a bedsheet to climb out the apartment and escape.

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