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East side neighborhood steps up to help those displaced during Saturday night fire

NOW: East side neighborhood steps up to help those displaced during Saturday night fire

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)--- Residents of an apartment building on Milwaukee’s East Side returned on Sunday to salvage what they could of their home. A devastating fire caused extensive damage on Saturday night.

The fire started upstairs of the building located near the intersection of Park Place and Downer Avenue, the upstairs unit is now completely destroyed and a number of people were displaced.

City crews were boarding up the building Sunday, while neighbors throughout the day came to make sure everyone affected were doing okay.

After hearing about the fire, Marilyn McKnight came to pay a visit to her old home. McKnight lived in the building for 15 years, and was overwhelmed with shock.

"It is scary too because when I looked at it, the bedroom window where I slept is gone,” said McKnight. “Thank God nobody was hurt."

People who live in the building also returned, to pick up any belongings untouched by the fire. Some of them were distraught, after losing almost everything.

"I mean the top unit lost everything, the second floor you know, it’s so just sad, and I’m really shocked," adds McKnight.  

All day neighbors showed up with bags in hand filled with food, bedding and clothes. Hoping to ease some of the pain their fellow east siders are going through.

"When the fire happened I saw that the young lady that lives here didn't have shoes. She just ran out without her shoes and we wear about the same size so I went and got her some shoes and a change of clothes," said neighbor, Kaija Slaukstins-Byrkit.

"It's a bunch of college students and it's a bunch of families, and so it's very tight-knit and we will always help out," said neighbor, Sophia Dimmer.  

An East-Side Neighborhood Facebook page helped to spread the word and many have stepped up to show the true meaning of community.

"They needed clothes and like food donations or whatever people could spare,” said neighbor, Emma Zander. “In minutes there were like a ton of people saying what sizes and what else do you need?"

"The community on Facebook is really getting together and seeing what we can do for the families,” said Slaukstins-Byrkit.

"We have clothes to give, we have lots of stuff. If somebody has nothing, that's what communities do,” adds Dimmer.

Even though everyone made it out safely.  The Milwaukee Fire Department says they don't know what started the fire, and it remains under investigation.

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