Family: Possessions stolen from apartment after fire

February 1, 2011 3:50:45 PM PST
It was a destructive three-alarm fire during which more than a dozen apartments burned on New Year's Day. Amazingly, everyone made it out safely.

But a month later, we're hearing from some residents who feel like they've just been kicked while they were down. Their personal belongings were stolen from the rubble before they could even check to see if there was anything worth salvaging.

The Thompsons are thankful to have a roof over their head, especially on a cold day. But it doesn't change how they feel about being ripped off.

Last month, nearly everything Antoine Thompson and his wife had worked so hard for went up in flames. Theirs was one of more than a dozen apartments that burned during a New Year's Day inferno.

The Thompsons have since moved into a new unit on the same property, but bouncing back hasn't been easy.

"It's hard to readjust, because you know starting over from what we had to now technically losing everything," Courtne Prince-Thompson said.

But what adds insult to injury is the Thompsons say some of their possessions were stolen. The area had been cordoned off and secured with a fence -- or so they thought.

"When I went in I noticed that basically everything that was electronic or belonged to the kids as far as toys and things like that was no longer there," Thompson said.

The couple claims the apartment manager, Cesar Jaime, was less than sympathetic. In a statement, Jaime told us:

"I understand how they feel and we apologize. Someone broke into every damaged unit with a crowbar. We made a report to police. We had a scheduled day where residents could get their stuff out."

The Thompsons say to be preyed upon when they're already down is disheartening, to say the least.

"Regardless, if, you know, it was damaged, how could you take someone's stuff?" Prince-Thompson said.

Houston police say a patrol officer caught two people trespassing in one of the units, but the apartment manager did not to press charges.