Apartment fire being blamed on arsonist

October 24, 2008 10:04:11 AM PDT
At least one person was injured in a two-alarm fire in southwest Houston.The fire broke out after 4:30am at the Spring Forest apartments on Bissonnet and Rampart.

Houston police and HFD arson investigators questioned two people they were calling persons of interest this morning. Those two people were later released. The search continues for those responsible for starting these fires and the reason why.

By late this morning, firefighters were dousing hot spots with water. Small plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the smoldering remains of what once was an apartment building. For some, there was little left to salvage.

"Pretty much, we lost everything all the furniture, all the memories, all of the pictures everything," said fire victim Mauricio Vazquez.

Fire investigators who traced the beginnings to a laundry room say this was no accident.

"In the course of fighting this fire, there were a couple of other smaller fires in other buildings in this complex," said Chief Tommy Dowdy with the Houston Fire Department. "In fact, the chief at one point made the decision to call the dispatcher and pull another box to get some more help out here."

They needed it. The flames were intense. The common attic space allowed the fire burn quickly.

"The roof was melting in really, really fast," said fire victim Kyle Story.

Frightened residents had almost no time to react.

"I saw a man jump out of his window," said resident Viola Valdez. "He broke the window from the bathroom and went jumping out and hurt himself and then we started banging on doors.""

Eight of the 12 units that caught fire were completely destroyed. To make matters worse, residents have been through this once before.

"This is actually the second fire in six months. My mom's apartment was actually the first one that caught on fire six months ago," said resident Ben Vega.

The Red Cross arrived on the scene to help those displaced residents with their immediate needs, like food, shelter and clothing.

At least one person was transported to the hospital.

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