Uptown apartment residents respond to arrest of arson suspect - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Uptown apartment residents respond to arrest of arson suspect

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Today, residents of the "Uptown Apartments" say even though he is behind bars, it will not replace what was lost.  For Valarie Callens, Christmas Eve was horrifying.

"It was horrible," Callens said. "I was sleeping, and woke up to a fire."

That blaze left her and her two children - with nothing.

"I have a lot of water damage, a lot of smoke damage," she said. "It's not livable at all."

She lives right below the units that caught fire - ceiling insulation fell through, clothing, furniture, and beds all soaked - and now are molding.

"All the things are damaged," Callens said. "They all are damaged."

Today the clean-up and search for anything salvagable continues... 

"He not only hurt the person he was after, but he hurt 18 families," Callens said. "18 families had to move out of their homes on Christmas Eve."

"A lot of water, the ceiling fell in the kitchen, and nothing really to keep," Charlette Davis, a resident said.

Charlette Davis lives next door. She says, despite the great loss, neighbors are thankful no one was hurt.

"It's a blessing to be alive," she said. "That's the main thing about it. We're just taking it one day at a time."

Residents now say, they're hoping justice is served but no matter what happens, it doesn't repair Christmas or replace what was lost.

"I've lost so much," Callens said. "Even with him being charged, it will not bring my stuff back or my kids stuff - it will not bring it back. We're still out of our homes, but it would be satisfying knowing he's not on the street anymore."

"Clean up and hold our heads up and just go day by day," Davis said. "We know it's going to get better but it's just one day at a time."

Investigators still need reports from people living in that complex. They are asking that anyone who had a damaged unit to contact Birmingham Police.  Residents are asked to call 254-1782.


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