PASADENA, TX --All it took was one fire, and in a matter of a few hours, two dozen people lost their homes just days before Thanksgiving. The fire started late Monday afternoon at the Cinnamon Ridge Apartments off Spencer Highway near Red Bluff in Pasadena. Investigators say an electrical fire in ventilation system near a second floor bathroom started the blaze, displacing residents in 12 apartments of the 14-unit building. Now those residents are looking for somewhere to live. As firefighter in Pasadena continued to put out hot spots on Monday night, Paul McCullough and his family watched in despair. "It's just devastating," said his mother, Joan McCullough. SkyEye HD was above building 22 at the Cinnamon Ridge Apartments complex Monday afternoon when flames took over. "Those flames were shooting 20 to 30 feet above the building," said Paul McCullough said. The fire left a chimney teetering and dozens of residents were left without a home. Quick-thinking neighbors gave the warning. "They just knocked on the doors and said get out there's a fire," said Paul's sister, Theresa McCullough. The McCulloughs grabbed what they could and left. Fifteen-year-old Krista McCullough showed us six of their cats. Their dog escaped too. But Tigger, their seventh cat, wasn't so lucky. "I tried to get him. He ran under the bed. Smoke was starting to choke me and I just decided I gotta go," Paul McCullough said. The family doesn't think Tigger survived. Fourteen units were quickly destroyed. They all share a common attic, which is never good for firefighters. "The fire ran the span of the attic, and of course the wind today didn't help us any," said Pasadena Fire Marshal David Brannon. "When I saw the roof collapse, I said I have what I have," Paul McCullough said. He only had the clothes on his back. Theresa had to buy shoes because she ran out in her bare feet. "God will help us somehow," she said. Despite the loss they are still thankful this Thanksgiving week. "I'm just grateful I'm alive," Paul McCullough said. No one was injured in the fire. The Deer Park Fire Department also helped tap out the blaze. The American Red Cross, Salvation Army and another non-profit called Project Lift are working together to assist displaced residents. The apartment complex also is working to relocate them to other apartments.
November 23, 2010 7:28:35 AM PST