Apartment fire goes three alarms

February 12, 2010 4:05:44 PM PST
Firefighters now have an idea of what started a three-alarm fire that left some families out in the cold on the east side. There were some scary moments for the Houston Fire Department. For about five minutes, HFD says it could not account for one of its own.

The Houston Fire Department pulled three alarms as they tried to battle the blaze on Sherman near Edgewood.

They say flames started in the back of the home, on the first floor, and spread quickly. The home is built without fire stops and authorities say the flames were able to rip almost simultaneously through the walls and the roof.

The fire grew so intense at one point all fire crews were evacuated from the building. That's when HFD says they could not find one of its firefighters. They thought he might still be inside so they called for more units to go in and search for him.

"We heard him scream," said Ilene Arredondo.

She lives next door and says she saw that firefighter escape through a window.

"It was really scary, really bad," said Arredondo.

It turns out though the firefighter was OK. He crawled out a first floor window without injury. The fire department says a short time later he was back, helping put out the fire. Still that wasn't enough to save this structure.

The four people who live inside now say they have nowhere to go.

"Everybody's fine. Everybody's OK. We're just glad everybody's safe," said Chrystal Armijo.

HFD says preliminarily they are ruling this fire accidental and that it appears to have been started by a cigarette falling on some furniture downstairs.