4-Alarm Fire Destroys Milwaukee Apartment, Damages Bar

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apartment fire protectionMilwaukee, WI -- A three-alarm fire broke out Monday night at a Milwaukee apartment and attached bar, before reigniting on Tuesday morning as a 4-alarm fire.

Residents had to jump to the next building from a window to stay alive.  Francisco Melendez dodged flames to help his neighbors escape.  "To help each other stay alive.  I just wanted to survive.  That was the main thing in my mind - to survive, and nobody else get hurt," said Melendez. 

He and two teenager broke windows to help neighbors get across to the next building over.  "We jumped to the roof on the next building.  We had to escape - otherwise we would have gotten burned.  The part that we jumped from, the window, there was a flame.  They were very scared, crying and shaking.  [It was] really scary and [we were] afraid to die," Melendez continued.

Firefighters were originally called to the scene 10:30pm Monday, and then they were called back 8am on Tuesday.  The structure was a three story apartment building with a bar on the first floor.  Nineteen people were displaced in the fire.

The Red Cross is helping the displaced families.  No one was injured.

It is unknown what caused the fire; however, the building does have a history of violations.  There are 20 open maintenance violations.  Fire safety related violations were rectified and closed as of fall 2014.