Two early morning fires burn at SW Houston apartment complexes

Flames ripped through two different complexes early this morning
December 19, 2013 3:45:53 AM PST
Two fires burned early this morning. Both appeared to be the result of people trying to stay warm and now both are now under investigation

They broke out within hours of each -- one at an apartment complex on Bellerive and the other, earlier this morning at a complex on Richmond at Caseta.

The first call for help came from the Lodge at West Oaks apartments just before 11pm.

"Last night, I was actually in the shower and heard a lot of commotion and looked outside and everybody was outside," said resident Montrelle Shedrick, who had to evacuate. "When I opened my door, smoke came in."

When firefighters arrived, fire was coming from the roof of a third story unit where a fire burning in the fireplace got out of control.

"Again, the firefighters were able to think on their feet and get in there, get there and get a ladder up in position and get up on the roof and do what we need to do to get the fire under control and keep it from spreading any further," said Captain Ken Rammrath with the Houston Fire Department.

Residents from the entire building were evacuated; 24 units in all.

Eight families in the building where the fire started were impacted.

One unit was heavily damaged. Several other units in the building had smoke and water damage. Residents told us they were just happy to get out in time.

"I had a gentleman and warn us there was a fire in the building so I got my family up and went outside and saw fire on the roof," said resident Harley Hendrix.

Not far from that apartment fire, firefighters were called to a townhome off Bellerive near Fondren just before 5am. Firefighters were able to knock down that fire quickly.

"Ruled the fire as accidental," said Steve Cichon with the Houston Fire Department. "It started in the central heating unit on the second floor and it travelled in to the attic from there."

Five families were affected. One unit there was damaged by the flames. Electricity was cut off to four additional units causing those residents to evacuate as a precaution.

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