More than 150 firefighters were called to the Richmond Chase Apartments in the 8100 block of Richmond at Ann Arbor in west Houston around 9:30pm Friday.
Firefighters were met by heavy flames shooting from the rooftop of the two-story apartment complex.
The blaze appeared to have originated from a patio of a first story unit. The fire spread to the siding and up the side of the building into the attic.
The fire's aggressive nature forced crews to pull entirely out of the building twice.
Officials say several factors made this fire tough to put out. They had problems with water supply. Also, they had a hard time keeping it from spreading because of the building's rooftop.
"Typically a flat roof is our friend in an older construction like this," said a fire official with whom we spoke. "But in this particular instance, the roof had been removed at some point and a truss-construction roof had been put in place, which in essence creates a large gap between the ceiling and the rooftop."
The incident was tapped out around 12:50 a.m. and turned over to the apartment management around 4 a.m.
The firefighters who were injured were taken to an area hospital. One firefighter suffered from possible heat exhaustion and two suffered from chest pains.
The American Red Cross and a METRO bus responded to assist the displaced residents with aid and shelter.
The fire caused more than $2 million in damage. Four apartments were heavily damaged by fire and the remaining 24 units in the building were damaged by smoke, water or fire. All but two units were occupied.
Arson is investigating the cause.