NOTE: Since the live news broadcast, fire officials confirmed a fourth person has died as a result of injuries sustained in the fire.
DES MOINES, Iowa -- The fatal fire at the Eddy Apartment Building claimed the lives of four people, and about 40 others are now being sheltered at a local church.
One of the victims was a 57-year-old woman, the other a 71-year old-man, and the other two still unknown. One of the other victims' identities will not be known for some time because police must do DNA testing to identify who it is.
For some who lived at the Eddy building, the events feel like déjà vu.
“I was burned out of the Elliot in June of last year, and just one month shy of a year I get burned out of another one,” said resident Pat Heun.
Approximately 40 people are being sheltered at the Windsor Heights Lutheran Church.
“It’s heartbreaking because when they left, they left everything behind. Some have been through fires before, some not at all, so it's emotional for them and we're just trying to do counseling. We have people coming in to do counseling and social workers that are helping them find their next place,” said Betty Devine, the shelter manager.
Some of the things they left behind included pets. Six cats were rescued from the building, but some remain unaccounted for.
“It's been an emotional day here talking with everybody because for many of these folks their pet was their sole companion,” said Kim Wolf of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.
Firefighters revealed the woman who was heroically rescued from the fourth floor has been released from the hospital, but two people remain hospitalized, one in critical condition. Firefighters also stated the Eddy building did not have a sprinkler system.
“The Eddy, that building was built in the 1920s. At the time sprinklers were not required, and it's assumed to be code compliant as long as it's continued to be used in that manner,” said Des Moines Fire Marshal Jonathan Lund.
Now, all those who survived the fire can do is look forward.
“If I could afford it I'd get a small house or a place of my own out in the country or whatever rather than do the apartment scene anymore,” said Heun.
Fire crews want to reiterate that closing the door during a fire can save lives. They say if the two who were rescued from the fourth floor had not closed their door, too much smoke could have been pushed in and they might have perished.