Fire erupts at apartment complex

Firefighters are battling a huge blaze at the apartment complex on Gears Road

October 13, 2010 4:34:45 PM PDT
A three-alarm apartment fire erupted Wednesday afternoon in north Houston. It happened at the Driscoll Place apartments on Gears and Greensmark in the Greenspoint area around 2:40pm. Officials said more than 100 firefighters were at the scene trying to battle the blaze. It was finally extinguished shortly after 4pm.

"We have arson investigators on location, and they'll be assessing it from this point," Houston Fire Department Assistant Chief Kevin Alexander said.

When firefighters arrived, they saw heavy fire shooting out from Building 17. The fire had started in an apartment unit's attic and had soon spread to other units in the structure and jumped to nearby Building 16.

"We needed the manpower because it was two structures actually involved. It was actually as if we were fighting two fires at the same time," Alexander said.

One firefighter suffered an injury to the eye and was transported to the hospital, Alexander said.

All the residents inside the complex were able to escape from their apartments. But for Resident Deshon Fox, it was a close call.

"I was about to go to sleep, and I got a knock on the door. It was like a frantic knock, 'cause heard it next door too," he said.

Before he knew it, he was running out the door and grabbing what he could before the flames inched closer to his door.

"You could hear the popping from inside my apartment," Fox said.

Fox appeared to be among the residents whose lives were saved by members of a construction crew that witnessed the fire and went knocking on doors. Gemstar Construction worker Terry Wymore was among the construction workers who went inside the building to get residents out.

"It was the second knocking when we went back that there was a couple sleeping and they finally got 'em up and got out," Wymore said. "It was right down the corner from where the fire was, so they were pretty lucky."

Residents said another fire had erupted at the same complex a few months ago, which is why the construction crew was at the apartment complex. Alexander said arson investigators will be looking into whether the blazes are connected.

For now, Fox is counting his blessings.

"I could have been asleep, so I could be still in there burning right now," Fox said. "Yeah, they pretty much saved my life."

Authorities said 48 units were destroyed and about 37 families have been displaced as a result. The apartment complex is trying to find other units for the displaced families to live in.


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