After a long day moving into the Gateway Apartments in Anaheim Aug. 28, sophomore dance majors Amanda Garcia and Michelle Harvey decided to bake a pizza.
Both students were in their bedrooms while the oven was preheating when they started smelling something. Upon entering the kitchen, they found it was full of smoke.
The women fanned the air as they made their way toward the oven, where they saw flames.
“Our instinct was to get out,” Garcia said. “Michelle didn’t even bother to grab her purse.”
The two called maintenance and 911, and then waited 10 minutes for the emergency responders to arrive. In the meantime, their entire building was evacuated.
According to Garcia, the firefighters put the fire out using an extinguisher and filled the apartment with fans to get rid of the smell. Their furniture, everything in the kitchen and some of their clothes were destroyed. Later, they found out that the fire was caused by a gas leak in the oven combined with grease left behind by the apartment’s previous residents, Garcia said.
Harvey said that since both of them are from out of state, their parents had to fly in the following morning. They’ve had to repurchase furniture and some other items, including some clothes that couldn’t be saved through dry cleaning.
With the help of their parents, their Delta Gamma sorority sisters and other friends, Harvey and Garcia have settled into their new apartment, which is across the hall from their old one.
Harvey said that their friends from Delta Gamma created a GoFundMe account to help them out and have been offering them food and helping them move in. Friends also lent them clothes for their dance auditions.
“We are still trying to cope with the situation,” Harvey said. “Hopefully this never happens again. Thank God we are safe and healthy.”