STOCKTON -- At least eight families were displaced when a fire ripped through a Stockton apartment complex Monday.
Behind a chain link fence and yellow caution tape, Natasha Montgomery surveyed her home. Inside of the burned mess was a lifetime of memories she now is too afraid to face.
"If I can salvage some of the stuff then I will but I don’t want to come back here," Montgomery told FOX40.
Montgomery says she saw flames Monday afternoon at her apartment on Ponce De Leon Avenue but her own safety had to wait.
"Had said, 'My brother, my brother, he’s still hooked up to a emergency bed,'" said good Samaritan Jahques Alcutt.
Across the street, Alcutt had just come home from a camping trip.
Through the chaos firefighters were facing Alcutt also pushed through. He says he helped carry Montgomery's bedbound brother out of the burning building.
"See if they need help, there’s a fire, that’s lives in there," Alcutt said. "There’s babies in there. There’s a lot of children that live in that apartment.”
Montgomery says she is overwhelmed with gratitude. "Thank you, Jesus. Like thank you, Jesus," she said.
At least eight other families were left with just the clothes on their back. The Stockton Fire Department reports they are being helped by the American Red Cross.
Montgomery says her mother’s ashes, family pictures, even her 11-year-old granddaughter's favorite blanket, which is now wedged between boards, are all gone.
"I don’t know, it’s too much for me to deal with right now," Montgomery said.
She added she’s been wanting to move, but not like this.
The fire department says the cause is still under investigation. They add after code enforcement assesses the building’s stability, families will be allowed to save what might not have been damaged.