Fire consumes Baytown area apartments

July 5, 2009 6:25:22 AM PDT
More than 60 people this weekend will have to find new homes after a devastating apartment fire. People got out of the burning building on Hemlock near Baker early Saturday morning. Firefighters were called out to the Sunshine Apartment complex around 10:30pm Friday night. Flames were pouring from the building and firefighters called for mutual aid from other departments.

Residents say the three-alarm fire quickly consumed the building, spreading through a common attic.

"My mom lived over here, I think she lost everything," said one tenant's daughter, Maria Plasencia.

Plasencia is filtering through what's left of her family's photos. She's here at the Sunshine Apartment complex in Baytown, gathering her mother's belongings.

"I feel so bad, but the most important thing is she's okay," said Plasencia.

Her mother's apartment burned, late Friday night along with more than two dozen other units. The entire building was destroyed by fire which spread through a common attic.

Tenant Cierra Griffin said, "I heard banging on other people's windows. Fire, Fire! Black smoke was coming out already."

Griffin got her family out in time, but nothing else.

"I came back, flames had already started by the time I got back upstairs," said Griffin.

It turned into a three-alarm fire and the next day revealed it was every bit as bad as the residents feared.

"The ceiling is on the floor. Everything is wet," said tenant Francisco Rodriguez.

Only some residents like Rodriguez got into the burned-out apartments.

"I just came to see if I can get any clothes. It's the only stuff I can take out," said Rodriguez.

The building is off limits for safety reasons and Emmeal Watson knows there is little of importance left there anyway.

"I'm glad me and my family wasn't in there. So we'll make it all," said Watson.

The Red Cross and a nearby complex are assisting the the residents.

Twenty-six units were destroyed. Arson investigators are looking into the cause. They say it's possible a problem with a circuit breaker caused it.

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