Denton families start over after fire destroys building

A dozen people have been displaced after a massive fire destroyed a Denton building.

Investigators don’t yet know what caused the fire, but they do know where it started.

Firefighters said it started where trash was piled on the property behind an apartment complex in the 800 block of W. Collins Street.

“The fire just ate the entire back of our compound,” Paige Hammer said.

The condo that Hammer’s family has rented in Denton for several years is now uninhabitable.

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“We were here all the time cooking, spending time with family,” Hammer recalled.

A fire charred his unit and neighboring units last week.

“We all lost our homes,” she added.

There are 12 people who are now displaced.

“This situation could have been avoided,” Hammer said.

She believes a lingering issue she reported was why the fire was out of control.

“Trying to get the trash can serviced for about a year,” she said.

Hammer provided photos of trash that previously piled up behind his unit in nearby Denton student apartments.

“It was on the street. You could barely walk through the parking lot,” she said.

The Denton Fire Department said “the trash can was on fire first”, but what started the flames is still under investigation.

Hammer provided records of litter complaints she filed with city officials a week before the fire.

In emails between Hammer and city officials, they say they sent a notice of violation to property management.

“We were just trying to get some sort of commentary regarding the fire that happened,” Hammer said.

FOX 4 asked the resort for answers on Sunday, but their response was “No comment.”

Hammer said she, her boyfriend and her 9-year-old daughter are now staying with extended family.

“You know, now we have to start over with next to nothing,” she added.

She doesn’t know how the fire started, but she thinks the abundance of trash allowed it to spread.

[REPORTER: “You thought the trash was an issue, but did you ever think it was going to turn into this?”]

“No. I never thought it would turn into this. It’s absolutely devastating,” Hammer replied.

A GoFundMe has been created to help Hammer and his family.

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