Three injured, dozens displaced by apartment fire in SE Houston

July 4, 2012 2:10:25 PM PDT
This holiday is off to a rough start for several southeast Houston families after a fire Wednesday morning heavily damaged their apartments, injuring three people and forcing others to find somewhere else to stay.

Arson investigators are inside the building now working to find out what started the fire at a two-story building on Park Place near Deleon. Nobody else has been allowed inside and if you look at the damage you can see why. Windows are knocked out from when some residents jumped out to safety and the rest of the complex is completely inhabitable.

All 16 units here are ruined. It took about 50 firefighters an hour and a half to put out the flames when the fire started at about 6am.

There may have been even more victims had it not been for the quick actions of neighbors, including one man whose son was trapped upstairs.

"He said, 'Dad, I'm up. I can't come through the house,' because it was too thick. He had to jump out the window, so I had to come back downstairs and I had to catch him," said resident Marcus Jones.

Fire officials believe everybody is going to be OK. Three people had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for their injuries, but they were all released early Wednesday afternoon.

Rose Parado cried as she showed us her injuries - a broken leg and arms rubbed raw. She was trapped inside as the fire spread.

"I coudn't get out, so I busted the screen window and I just jumped out," she said.

"What were you thinking in your head?" we asked.

"Just let me live," she said.

Another couple had to be hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

"Very hot, scary. My throat still burns," resident Mary Perez said.

Now dozens of people are homeless, trying to figure out where to stay today and tonight.

"I immediately smelled the smoke and when I stood up, it was just black so I grabbed my phone -- that's the only thing I could get," said resident Mike Rivera.

When we asked resident Don Bewley where he's going to go, he replied, "I don't know. They're going to have to tell us. I hope I don't have to go back to a nursing home for God's sake."

Red Cross workers got here at about 10:40am and they will be helping residents here. However, they can't do much yet because they haven't been able to get inside and assess the damage here.

One concern here is that it is a holiday and the fire department says that always makes it a little harder to find shelter because so many offices are closed today.

The Red Cross says between 20-25 people have been displaced due to the fire.

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