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Apartment fire displaces 36 in West Bend, tenant says "We had to feel our way out"

Three dozen people are without homes after a fire in their apartment complex forced them out.  

It happened around 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday at the Rivercrest Apartment complex on River Road in West Bend.  West Bend Fire Department arrived to a fully involved fire on both the main floor and basement.  It was difficult to put out the basement fire because it was used for storage and therefore difficult for firefighters to get at the source.

Jermaine Ross and his girlfriend were inside when the fire started.

\"I was just sitting on the couch watching the Brewers game and I was about to pass out next thing you know I hear the fire alarm go off,\" Ross said.

He thought it was a false alarm at first, but then saw smoke.

\"I can actually see the smoke started seeping through our vents and started seeping through our heaters,\" Ross added.  \"My first reaction was just to get out.\"

He and his girlfriend headed for the exits the complex was full of smoke.

\"By the time we got halfway down the stairs we had to feel our way out. That's how engulfed the bottom floor was.\"

No one was injured. The 16 apartment complex currently had four vacant units.  In total, 36 people are displaced.  The Red Cross is assisting in providing them with temporary shelter and necessities.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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