Apartment fire destroys dozens of homes

Fire broke out at the Pates Crossing apartments in West Harris County during heavy rains
July 12, 2012 2:37:57 PM PDT
Residents in a west Harris County apartment complex had to get out of their apartments in a hurry, in the rain, after a fire broke out just before noon.

Firefighters remained at the Pates Crossing apartments for much of the day, making sure the fire doesn't reignite. Investigators waited for the smoke to clear to start looking into what could have started the fire on Gray Ridge near Addicks Clodine.

We're told 24 apartment units are completely destroyed, and 21 of the units were occupied at the time. Fortunately, most people weren't home when the fire started around midday Thursday and nobody was injured.

Firefighters say it looks like the fire started on the second floor and then moved up to the third floor and attic. They tell us all the rain made their jobs much harder. It took fire trucks much longer than usual to arrive at the scene and the wind made the fire spread faster.

The focus is now on the people who live at the complex, as many of them have lost everything.

"Everything," said fire victim Anthony Russell. "Everything except for the clothes I got and this umbrella."

"The building is pretty much destroyed," said Capt. Ken Rammrath with the Community Volunteer Fire Department. "If it has not been destroyed by the fire itself, we have a lot of water damage that's pretty much going to take out this whole building."

The Red Cross is assisting residents.

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