Arson investigating overnight fires at complex

January 6, 2013 12:31:14 PM PST
Arson investigators say someone may have set two fires in less than three hours overnight at a west Houston apartment complex, and they are trying to figure out why none of the residents heard any alarms after the fires started.

The first fire started around 11:30pm at the Sheffield Square Apartments on Perthshire near Thornbranch. At that time, they reportedly found a burning phonebook in a stairwell.

Firefighters returned for a second blaze at 2am and found a stairwell engulfed in flames.

Four units were heavily damaged, leaving four families homeless. No one was hurt.

Residents say they did not hear smoke alarms. Instead, a woman ran through the burning complex warning her neighbors about the second, larger fire.

As workers cleaned up the damage, Nick Blair looked on, remembering how it all began just hours earlier. He was asleep when his son and other residents noticed the fire at 2am.

"They heard a crash, boom, some glass breaking," Blair said. "My son looked out in the stairwell and saw the fire."

Crystal Smith saw the first fire as well.

"An hour before the stairwell was on fire, someone put the yellow pages on fire," she said. "The upstairs neighbor, they put out with a fire extinguisher, and an hour later someone set stairs on fire."

The fire may be out now, but the damage is extensive. The people who did call this place home are just glad they got out safely.

Blair doesn't quite know where he's going to live next. Some of the other residents are already moving into apartments in the same complex.

What everyone wants is for investigators to find the person or people responsible.

Anyone with information can call HFD or Crime Stoppers.

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