Improperly discarded cigarettes cause of fire that displaced families, Harris Co. fire marshal says

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Improperly discarded cigarettes are to blame for a fire that displaced multiple families from their apartments in east Harris County, just days before Christmas, the fire marshal's office said.

Investigators ruled the fire accidental.

The fire marshal's office says that the fire started at about 2:20 a.m. Friday on the bottom floor of the Pines of Woodforest apartments on Uvalde.

The flames traveled to the second floor, damaging 12 units and requiring the help of five different agencies.

Rachel Neutzler with the fire marshal's office called the fact that there were smoke alarms a saving grace as nobody was injured.

Although the fire was contained to one building, the apartment complex had a common attic and no sprinklers, which enabled the flames to spread.

"From what I was told, the back of my apartment, everything in the back, was caved in. We were able to save a little bit from the living room, but that's about it. We pretty much lost everything," said resident Faith Daniels. "Anything material, we can replace it, but our lives can't be replaced. My family is fine. Everyone out here right now is still living, breathing, that's all that matters."

"Any fire is devastating, but right before the holidays makes it even more devastating," Neutzler said.

Officials say wind was also a factor in the fire's spread.

The Red Cross is helping affected residents.



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