2 hospitalized, several displaced after 3-alarm fire rips through Lake Jackson apartments

The burned remains of apartments in Lake Jackson where a three-alarm fire tested firefighters for almost two hours
August 25, 2013 4:15:37 PM PDT
Firefighters on Sunday were investigating a three-alarm blaze that ripped through an apartment complex in Lake Jackson, sending two people to the hospital.

Firefighters arrived at the Sun Forest apartment complex on Garland Drive near Highway 332 around 11:30pm Saturday, finding one of the units already fully engulfed in flames.

"First unit arrived, had heavy fire on the first and second floor. It went to second and third alarm within seven minutes," Lake Jackson Fire Chief Mike Harper said.

Residents ran outside when they smelled smoke, and some even knocked on the doors of their neighbors.

"I ran outside and the whole apartment -- two apartments -- caught on fire; the top one and the bottom. And then it started spreading to the right," resident Clayton Kimbler said.

The fire spread to a total of 10 apartment units, five of which were occupied. All of the residents got out safely, but two had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Sixty-five firefighters from five different departments worked for almost two hours to get the flames under control. Kimbler told us the fire moved so quickly that it's amazing no one was seriously hurt.

"It was, like, big with black smoke everywhere. Like, it was like so big I felt it all the way in the back of the apartment," he said. "My friend said he felt the fire way over there at the other apartment."

Firefighters were back out at the scene with arson investigators Sunday, assessing the damage and looking into the cause of the fire.

Michael Shearfield and his family came by to offer some help.

"Me and my wife brought down a bag of some towels, toys for the kids, some dry goods, canned food stuff," Shearfield said. "We live right around the corner, thought we'd help out our neighbors."

Some of the apartments have items in them that can be salvaged. Other apartments were gutted completely. For those who lost everything, the Red Cross has offered support and services.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

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