Homes looted after apartment fire in southeast Houston

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Several families have lost everything after an overnight two-alarm fire damaged four units at an apartment complex in southeast Houston.

For the families in the units that burned, it means the Christmas they planned has changed if not vanished. And not entirely because of the flames.

The night was cold, and after the firefighters left, the residents in the burned or damaged apartments left as well, to seek warm shelter.

"We were told there would be security there," said one woman.

Instead, they say thieves rummaged through the apartments. The few items, mainly wrapped presents intended for Christmas, that were spared from the fire, were stolen.

"I guess they're people without a heart," said Daniella Escalante. "They took things I was going to give as a gift."

One of the residents of the complex says her son burned his hand when he tried to turn the light switch on. She saw smoke in his bedroom and alerted neighbors of the fire.

Ahiko Huerta was one of the neighbors alerted of the fire. She says she was asleep with her four-month-old baby.

"It was a disaster, for us before Christmas and I mean it's a lot of damage in our apartment," Huerta said.

Authorities believe the fire started in a bedroom at the back of a unit.

One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.

The Red Cross is assisting those families affected by the fire.

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