One dead in apartment fire

September 23, 2009 6:28:29 AM PDT
One person died and three people were injured Tuesday night in a two-alarm apartment fire in southwest Houston. The fire started about 7:30pm. The victim's daughter told Eyewitness News more people would have died had a man not rushed into that burning apartment.

The man suffered from smoke inhalation. The woman says he pulled her and her stepmother from the fire but couldn't get to her father in time.

"Then he broke the back window because he thought he heard my father, but it wasn't successful," said the victim's daughter.

Firefighters confirm at least four units were heavily damaged at the Westwood Triangle Apartments on Jorine and Imogene. An elderly man was found beneath rubble in a downstairs apartment. Burglar bars made it tough to escape and certainly slowed down firefighters attacking the fire.

"It slowed us down a little bit getting in, but we went through the window anyway and the doors. If they tried to get out the window, it would have been a deterrent," said District Chief Tommy Dowdy of the Houston Fire Department.

A neighbor said the older couple was often seen outside the apartment.

"Nice people. She has grandkids that lived there with her as well. They got out," said resident Mike Boydston.

Though the woman was dealing with the loss of her father, she says without the man's heroics, her family would have perished in the apartment.

"At least we saved two lives out of three. I thank God for that," said the woman.

Though the elderly man was killed in the fire, his wife was rushed to the hospital with severe burns. The daughter was also transported to the hospital with cuts to her arms and head.

As for the cause of the fire, police do believe the fire originated in the apartment with the burglar bars.

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