WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCBD) – Dozens of residents of the Palms Apartments in West Ashley are left homeless after a massive fire destroyed 40 units early Monday morning.

According to Charleston Fire officials, about 179 residents from 56 units were relocated. American Red Cross officials told News 2 that 40 of those units had been destroyed and would require long-term reconstruction support.

Webb Maynard lives at the Palms Apartments. He said he woke up to police knocking on his door at 5 a.m., telling him he needed to evacuate. He was forced to leave most of his belongings behind.

“What I have on me, my phone, my wallet and my keys. That was all I really had time for before they said ‘get out,'” Maynard said.

Fortunately, Maynard said firefighters were able to stop the flames before they reached his apartment building, but he didn’t know when he would be allowed back into his apartment. In the meantime, he turned to the American Red Cross for help.

On Monday, the American Red Cross assisted dozens of residents at the Masonic Center on Orange Grove Road. Food and blankets were provided, while officials said they determined which residents needed shelter and which could go home.

“When we’re dealing with that many units, there’s a lot of travel and a lot of logistics that all have to fall into place so everyone can be well served,” said Brint Patrick, executive director of the Lowcountry section. of the American Red Cross.

Patrick said the best way to support these families is to donate to Red Cross.orgas many residents will require financial assistance for hotel stays.

Mohamed Bayoumi is also a resident of the Palms Apartments. He said he had returned home after a late night at work, only to find his neighborhood engulfed in flames.

“The police were there, the firefighters were there. They tried to do their best to put out the fire. It was a huge fire, I had never seen anything like it in my life,” Bayoumi said.

He wasn’t sure about the state of his apartment. Despite this, he still showed up at the Masonic Center, not to receive help, but to offer help to his neighbors.

News 2 has learned that a Charleston police officer and his wife were among many displaced in the blaze.

According to Charleston police, Staff Sgt. Shane Lafromboise and his wife, Lisa, lived in one of the buildings that was destroyed. They could not save any of their possessions. The police launched a GoFundMe. They also accept donations at Charleston Police Department Headquarters.

They collect the following gently used women’s items:

Tops: small or medium

Bottom: medium/size 6 or 4

Shoes: size 9.5

Underwear: size 6

For men:

Shirts: large

Pants: size 34/length 30

Shoes: 9.5

Underwear: medium boxers