Two-alarm fire destroys several apartments

May 15, 2012 8:39:48 PM PDT
A massive fire broke out early Wednesday morning at an apartment complex in southwest Houston. No one was hurt, but eight apartment units were destroyed with another six were damaged. A lot of residents were still at home or getting ready to go to work.

"The first thing I heard, people shouting, crying, knocking on doors," said resident Abdullah Khawaja.

By the time the Houston Fire Department got the call, the building at the Winding Trails Apartments in southwest Houston was already fully on fire. For the people living in and around it, the morning started with chaos and fear.

"I just opened my window and suddenly, within seconds, I couldn't see anything in my room because of the smoke inside. Next thing, I woke my roommates up and said, 'There's a fire and you need to get out of here right now,'" said Khawaja.

"People downstairs from us were just sitting in their apartment, looking out their door, and I was like, 'You need to come out now,' because the fire was just blazing," another resident told us.

"The smoke, all the smoke at my bed - I was sleeping, and I don't know, it was like god woke me up," resident Lucy Nweze said.

She was among the many residents who rushed out in confusion as their homes filled with smoke. She got to her balcony, and had to come down the rail.

"I jumped from the top floor," said Nweze.

She wasn't seriously hurt, and the fire department says there were no major injuries. It's fortunate because this kind of fire usually moves fast.

"The fire got up into the attic, it's an open attic, and that's our enemy. If it gets up in those open attics, it'll start running the attic," said Asst. Chief Jack Williams of the Houston Fire Department.

It was a two alarm fire, which automatically brought arson investigators to the scene to find out how it started. Nweze is simply thankful for how it ended.

"I am so happy that my life is saved, and that other people's lives are also saved," she said.

Firefighters and arson investigators are still on the scene. The apartment managers are working with families to help them find new places to live.

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