ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — A massive overnight fire ripped through a condominium building in Orange Beach, leaving much of the building in ruins by dawn Tuesday, authorities said.
The fire began sometime before 4 a.m. at the Island Dunes Condo in the Gulf Coast beach town, authorities said.
Some occupants were rescued from balconies but no injuries were reported, Orange Beach Fire Chief Shane Phillips told The Associated Press.
“How we don’t have injuries, I really don’t know,” Phillips said. “We’re just blessed.”
“This could have been a whole, whole lot worse,” he added. “This thing moved really, really quick.”
At least a dozen units in the building are completely gone, and another 10 were damaged so badly that they’re uninhabitable, Phillips said.
Fire officials on Tuesday were working with the building’s property management company to make sure everyone is accounted for, Phillips said.
Kennon said he got to the scene a short time after the first fire crews arrived and witnessed much of firefighters’ effort to extinguish the blaze.
“The minute they got there, they never hesitated,” Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon said. “Their gear was on, they were in the fire, making sure they got everybody out and that no one was left.”
Smoke could be seen for at least a mile, and images from the station showed only a few charred beams still standing where the condos once were, WALA-TV reported.
“When the call went out, the police department actually saw it from miles away, saw the glow,” Phillip said.
About 50 firefighters battled the blaze, and police and fire crews from nearby towns in Alabama and Florida also responded, Phillips said.
It wasn’t known Tuesday where the fire started or what caused it. Authorities were reviewing footage from surveillance cameras in the area and trying to find any witnesses, Phillips said.