Bystander wakes families as flames engulf West Houston apartment

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Twelve families forced out of their apartments after an overnight fire in southwest Houston.

Firefighters say the fire started at around 12:45 Monday morning at the Belvedere Westchase apartments at Meadowglen Lane and Walnut Bend.

Most of the families were sleeping at the time. Many of them were alerted to the flames because one man started knocking on doors.

Gustavo Martinez says he was on his way home from work when he saw smoke.

"Another guy and me jumped the fence and we saw the big fire so we started taking everyone out of the apartments," Martinez said.

He says he helped seven families get out. Six units were damaged by fire and smoke, another six had the electricity turned off. Red Cross is helping all 12 families displaced.

"Luckily everyone got out safely, but it was heavy fire. Heavy, heavy fire," Martinez said.

Arson investigators are working to figure out how the fire started.

Martinez, a father himself, said he never worried about his own safety. He knew he had to help.

"We had to try and help people because you never know when you're going to need help too."
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