2-alarm fire destroys apartments in NW Harris Co.

June 2, 2012 4:15:58 PM PDT
Arson officials are investigating what started an overnight apartment fire in northwest Harris County that left 20 families homeless.

The fire started around 9pm Friday and ripped through the Timbers Apartments on Gulf Bank near Antoine, destroying homes and personal belongings.

By Saturday evening, many families still didn't know where they would sleep.

People who live at the complex gathered in the parking lot Saturday, staring at what used to be their homes.

"I was just like, 'this can't be happening," Janice Parker said. "But it was happening."

Flames were shooting out of the roof and jumping from one building to another as firefighters raced through the apartment complex, rescuing those trapped inside.

It took firefighters several hours to extinguish the blaze.No one was hurt, but the fire damaged about 16 units in two buildings. All of the apartments were occupied at the time.

"All I knew was to try to get to safety. I knew not to try to save nothing. I mean, I lost absolutely everything," Robert Lewis Cole said.

Cole even left his shoes behind. He had to buy new ones Saturday, but he and others here still have so much more to replace.

"On my salary, for what I get, I'm never going to be able to replace that," Cole said.

"We ain't got no food. We ain't got nowhere to go right now," Parker said.

American Red Cross volunteers are working to find temporary homes for the residents.

"If you can imagine losing everything that you saved up and kept for your life, it's all gone, all burned up," Neal Hardin with Red Cross said.

And some neighbors, like Carla Tone, are offering up their couches to the displaced people.

"That's what it's all about: helping each other out. That's what the community is all about. If it was me, I would want the same," Tone said.

And as everyone embarked on the road to recovery Saturday, they could look down and see the pavement -- still wet from last night's rescue. It's a reminder of how much they have to be grateful for.

"The good thing is that I have my life," a resident told us. "That's the best part."


The fire wasn't all that kept authorities busy in the area Friday night. While crews worked to put out that apartment fire, tempers flared up in the crowd across the street from the scene.

Houston police said two officers near the fire were forced to use a Taser on two men who allegedly attacked them.

The officers were blocking off streets for fire crews when they saw a group of people fighting in a shopping center right next to the burning apartment complex.

According to authorities, the officers went to break it up and the opposing groups turned on them. Two suspects were shot with Tasers.

The officers were not hurt. Five people were arrested in all.

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