Firefighters go in defensive mode battling apartment fire in northwest Houston

April 12, 2013 8:26:48 PM PDT
Firefighters were forced to go into defensive mode battling a two-alarm blaze at an apartment complex in northwest Houston, and now several families no longer have a home or most of their belongings.

The fire erupted around 4:20pm at an apartment complex in the 5400 block of West Gulf Bank Road. It took firefighters about four and half hours to completely put out the blaze.

According to investigators, a tenant in Building 2 called 911, saying she heard a large pop as she was sleeping. That woman woke up from her couch to find a large fire on her patio. Neighbors rushed out as flames started shooting from the rooftops.

Firefighters arrived on scene just three minutes later, but heavy flames were already showing. The fire quickly reached the attic area and consumed two other buildings nearby.

"It just started spreading into the trees and it just started spreading -- it was a really big fire," resident Cierra Jones said.

Firefighters stopped the fire from growing even more, but it wasn't an easy. The buildings are old and didn't have adequate fire stops. Authorities say that's why the flames spread quickly and why they had to be careful about how much water they dropped on the buildings.

The three buildings -- as many as 18 units -- were totally destroyed in the fire.

"They've given us a new apartment for now," resident Jonquia Jones said.

With a few essentials in hand, a group young ladies said they were good for the night.

"Everything's gone but my baby and my husband and my niece got out OK. We just got to start over," resident Sylvia Henderson said.

And that's where Porsha Crane finds herself too.

"I didn't want to see it," Crane said.

She couldn't bear to see what used to be home to her and her four-year-old, and couldn't bear all the questions her child was asking.

"'Where are my toys? Where am I going to sleep? Where's my bed?'" Crane said.

She'll lean on her mother for help. At just 26, it's all overwhelmed overwhelming.

"I don't know where to start, I've never had this happen to me before," she said.

About 50 firefighters and 25 HFD units helped battle the blaze.

No one was injured in the fire, but firefighter say at least pet was killed.

The cause is still under investigation.

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