Man jumps from burning apartment building

July 21, 2011 4:34:22 PM PDT
One man is lucky to be alive after leaping from his second floor apartment to escape a fire.

The blaze at the Wood Creek Apartments in northwest Houston was a tough one to battle. Several families lost everything, and one man, after waking up, had no choice but to jump from the second story.

As water gushes through the building that Hugo Melindez and his family moved into just 25 days ago, all they can do is stare at their burned out unit and be thankful they were alerted in the middle of the night.

"Two, three guys; they come, they say, 'Hey c'mon wake up, wake up,'" fire victim Hugo Melindez said.

All Melindez had time to do was get everyone out of the apartment.

"My family, my wife and my two daughters," he said.

The fire broke out Thursday 3:30am. Ten hours later, a pumper truck was still dousing hot spots. Four units are a total loss.

But not everyone evacuated out safely. A 42-year-old man on the second floor had few options to escape when he woke up.

"The doors were covered with fire. The only place he could get out was the balcony or the window. I think his closest area was the window so he just jumped out," said Trinae Pettaway, who helped alert neighbors of the fire.

A hard landing from the second story fractured his back and ankle. He's now hospitalized.

Meanwhile, Dina Hernandez is just trying to salvage what she can from her mother's burned out unit.

"The fire department pulled most of the stuff out because we weren't allowed in there. They said the ceiling would collapse, so I don't even know if we are going to be able to get anything out of there for her," Hernandez said.

Even with no renters insurance, Melindez knows how to see the better side of this huge setback.

"If somebody lost their life, somebody died, it's horrible. Right now, it's just things, we can come back," Melindez said.

The man who injured himself after jumping to safety is now in stable condition.

As for the cause of the fire, arson investigators say they are still interviewing witnesses.

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