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Salem storage unit renters react after fire destroys belongings

A fire ripped through Apperson Self Storage Monday, damaging 64 units.

SALEM, Va. – More than 60 storage units left in shambles after a fire ripped through Apperson Self Storage Monday night.

Among the ashes and the damage, you can see pieces of people's lives, pieces they planned to store and keep safe.

"I know it's just stuff and we're glad everyone is okay. But it hurts to know your stuff is gone and you're not going to have it anymore," said Katrina St. Clair. 

Katrina had owned a storage unit for about a year. She said when she heard the news that "B" building was engulfed in flames, her heart dropped. She knew her unit in the center of "B" building was likely gone for good.

"We had emptied out an apartment and most of what my boyfriend had in his apartment. His bed, his guitars and amps, pictures of his son, his microwave, dishes, all that he had until he could find another place was in there," said St. Clair. 

Firefighters said when they arrived on scene Monday night, the flames were flying. Their main concern was containing the fire so it didn't spread to other units. A storage unit fire can sometimes be more challenging than most because you never know what's inside.

"Each unit presents its own hazards. There might be hazardous materials, cars, motorcycles, a lot of paper, some have clothes. So we have to go through each one and make sure we don't have fire in that particular unit," said Salem Fire Chief John Prillaman.

Hours later Katrina, along with many others, are waiting to see what the fire took from them and still hoping that at least a piece of the memories remains.

"I'm very shaky, very unknowing of what's going to happen especially not having any idea of whether there is anything left and how we're going to replace what we do need to replace," said St. Clair. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.