DALLAS — Saturday morning started out bad. Monterek Shannon described the scene at his apartment complex on Hunnicut Road in Southeast Dallas.
"I got woke up about 2:30... neighbors knocking on the door, beating on the door yelling to 'Get out!'"
And it just got worse from there, said another tenant at the Mayan Palms apartments who identified herself only as "Diane."
"I couldn't come down my stairs," she said. "I had to run across to go down those stairs. And good for my age, I was moving, because you see how they burned down."
But a day that started so dismally had a happier ending than anyone anticipated. Residents said kids and adults were tossed over balconies by neighbors who staged a heroic effort to save them from the advancing flames.
"I didn’t have a choice — let them sit up there and suffer, or try to help them," said Charleston Sampson, who dropped three children and two adults to safety below.
When it was over, 52 people had lost their homes and all their possessions in the four-alarm fire — but no one lost a life.
"People helping other people get out; beating on doors, busting windows trying to get people out," Shannon said. "It took a lot of teamwork and turned out pretty good. We lost everything, but we'll be able to get that back."
Many displaced tenants are now relying on the American Red Cross, which was already pressed by a three-alarm apartment fire that broke out at the Winstead Apartments near White Rock Lake on Friday night. Forty people there will have to find a new place to live, but everyone made it out safely from that fire as well — including four family pets firefighters pulled from the burning building.