Heater may be to blame for apartment fire

November 6, 2010 5:45:06 PM PDT
A two-alarm fire damaged at least six units at an apartment complex in southeast Houston, and now, people at the complex say they're thinking twice before turning on their heaters. The fire sparked around 11pm at the University Green apartments on Bay Area Boulevard and Reseda. By the time fire crews arrived, flames were already in the walls and had spread into the attic.

There isn't much to salvage in the saturated units, charred after fire ripped through. Ceasar Flores says he was up Friday night and saw the fire coming from his neighbors' roof and started knocking on doors.

"'Get out, get out of there,'" he said he told them.

Another neighbor grabbed his cell phone and recorded video of flames shooting from the building.

"All I could see was smoke and huge flames coming out from up top," said resident Travis Brenek.

Firefighters on the scene say they believe the blaze broke out after residents turned on their heater.

"It looks like the fire was in an area where the duct work goes through the building for heat supply and it looks like the fire just traveled up that and got into the attic," said J.C. Seaman with the Houston Fire Department.

Management at the University Green Apartments say they were doing work on the heating and air conditioning system in the burned building, but right now they are not sure what caused this fire.

A few buildings over, there is remodeling going on after another fire at the complex several months back.

Some residents say this is too much too soon and while investigators are still trying to nail down a cause, they want to make sure every precaution is taken so they won't have to go through something like this again.

"I think that our apartment complex should go through all the units. They are 30 years old and they need to just go in," said resident Cena O'Brien.

Fire investigators are still looking into what caused this fire, but fire officials are urging residents to make sure they get a certified professional to check their heating system before switching on the heater,

The residents who were burned out of their homes have been relocated. No injuries were reported in the fire.


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