HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Nearly two dozen families are trying to find a place to stay after losing everything in Wednesday's apartment fire.
Houston Fire Department responded to a fire on the 7900 block of Leonora Street near Glenview Drive.
Flames ripped through the roof of a portion of the Leonora Apartment complex. Twenty units were damaged in the fire, leaving many families with nothing.
Derick Taylor said he lives in the apartment unit next to where the fire started. Taylor said his neighbor yelled at him down the street for help and told Taylor his apartment unit was on fire. Taylor immediately ran and started banging on doors to alert and rescue his neighbors.
Taylor was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. He told ABC13 on Friday that it was his birthday the night of the fire. Many people, including Taylor, slept in their cars and on the lawn because they had no place to stay.
People brought food and donations for the families in need. The Red Cross also responded to provide resources and assistance to families. Many though still have not arranged temporary housing as of Friday evening.
Liliana Perez walked through what was left of her sister's apartment unit on the second floor. The roof and everything inside was destroyed.
Perez lives in an apartment unit on the first floor with her parents and brother. Perez said their unit was also damaged, but not as bad as her sister's. Together, the family has lost everything.
"This is material stuff," Perez said, "but it still hurts to see your stuff gone and have to start from the bottom but we do thank all the people that are trying to offer us a way to stay because even our apartments don't know where to put us. They haven't found a place for us to stay."
Dimitri Papadopoulos, the owner of Hangar Kitchen, said he saw the devastating damage and wanted to do something to help. He's offering free meals for the families impacted through the weekend.
"I just wanted to do something for them you know," Papadopoulos said. "I think everybody should do their part, and I was like, you know if we just offer them a free meal or something, just warm food whenever you just lost everything you know so we really just wanted to do our small part to help the community out."
Many children who live in the damaged apartments attend Cornelius Elementary School. The School posted on their Facebook page, that there will be a collection drive on March 19 from 12p.m. until 3 p.m.