PINE BLUFF — A fire destroyed a Pine Bluff apartment complex Wednesday, but no one was reported injured.

PINE BLUFF — A fire destroyed a Pine Bluff apartment complex Wednesday, but no one was reported injured.


Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Chief Shauwn Howell said the cause and origin of the fire at the County Club Point apartment complex are being investigated.


Residents evacuated the burning building and gathered outside, some crying. They were assisted by first responders and others.


Gian Naquila and his girlfriend Angelene Papa escaped but did not have their cat Georgy until a firefighter carried Georgy to them. Naquila said he had already left the apartment complex and was running errands when Papa called him about the fire.


"I did not expect this to happen," Naquila said. "It’s frustrating."


Papa said she heard other tenants yelling "fire," which prompted her to evacuate.


Karmesha Coleman had already left her apartment complex and gone to work. She said she had two sons who were safe at school.


"I feel bad knowing everything is gone," Coleman said. "Not everyone will be able to replace their things."


Coleman said she is thankful that no one was injured.


Raquella Robinson was among the displaced tenants who watched the massive fire burn. Robinson said she was at work at Jefferson Regional Medical Center when a colleague alerted her to the fire.


"I am really in shock," Robinson said. "You leave and lock up in the morning, thinking everything will be OK. You come home but you have no home."


Robinson lamented the loss, especially for her neighbors who came from other nations.


"You can see it on their faces," Raquella Robinson said. "It is devastating."


Her boyfriend Clifton Edwards said Robinson was still looking for a dog, Nylia, a brown dachshund.


Shamekia Robinson said she evacuated with Nylia but the dog became separated from her. She saw two elderly residents who were trying to carry belongings and she told them to leave their belongings behind and flee.


"Everything can be gone in the blink of an eye," Shamekia Robinson said. "It is sad how people work for stuff but they end up losing it in a fire."


Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services firefighters responded to Country Club Point at 4201 S. Cherry St. around 9:45 a.m.


Sam Alam, the owner of the complex, said it has 30 units and each unit was occupied. Firefighters knocked on doors to see if people were inside and to evacuate them, he said.


Alam said he is coordinating with the Red Cross to provide shelter to the displaced residents. He said he called other apartment complexes in Pine Bluff to provide new homes for them.


Salvation Army Captain David Leonard said that organization provided hot drinks and snacks to victims.


American Red Cross regional director of communications Brigette Williams said the Red Cross is providing temporary housing. Red Cross workers are speaking with displaced tenants to assess their needs.


"Several people have friends who are offering them a place to stay," Williams said. "We are in the process of opening an emergency shelter for as many people who are being effected for as long as needed."


Williams said case workers provided kits with toiletries, financial assistance and emotional support.


"You wake up to an alarm — you do not know what happened," Williams said. "We advocate for fire safety. You need to be able to get out of your home in less than two minutes and have a working smoke detector. Practice evacuating and determine where you will meet. Do not forget your pets."


For assistance, displaced tenants can call 1-800-RED-CROSS 24 hours a day. Williams also said people who want to help can donate money to www.redcross.org.