Famlies in northwest Houston displaced for the holidays after apartment fire

It was a Christmas nightmare for several families on the northwest side of Houston. Their homes were destroyed by a fire last night at an apartment complex
December 24, 2013 2:20:32 PM PST
It was a Christmas nightmare for several families on the northwest side of Houston. Their homes were destroyed by a fire last night at an apartment complex.

It happened at the complex on Wirt near Longpoint. Residents believe that fire started on a stove. Firefighters were able to contain fire to one unit, but seven units were damaged.

The fire was devastating to families there that saved all year for Christmas.

"My mom and the lady who lived right there, we were going to spend it together, throw a party" said resident Yovani Ausencio, pointing to where the fire reportedly started. "She already bought everything. She was going home and it was like 15 minutes and the fire started burning. She didn't have time to get everything out."

In this small complex, neighbors quickly came together, gathering what little extra each had -- a warm blanket here, some little girls clothes there -- to make sure the kids could get through the day. These are not families who had much even during the best of circumstances.

"All year, you save little by little so you can give your kids what they need for Christmas, and for you just to see, see it go, that's a lot," neighbor Dolores Delarosa said.

The original presents were gone, but Christmas would not be lost. On Tuesday afternoon, Houston Fire Capt. Steve Dunbar brought a truck full of toys, extras from the department's annual toy drive that will now help families like the Lopezes have something this Christmas.

"We wanted to do something so the kids don't associate Christmas with tragedy. We wanted to bring a little bit of smile, and cheer back to them," Dunbar said.

The Red Cross also stopped by to help residents. Some were relocated into other vacant apartments. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire.

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