Firefighters pull apartment residents to safety in west Houston

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A fast-moving fire is responsible for displacing residents, some of whom needed to be rescued, early Friday morning.

The two-alarm fire broke out shortly before 7am on the 2100 block of South Kirkwood and quickly spread into the walls and ceiling.

"I woke up and heard this strange, loud sound. I thought it was hail coming down, like from a storm. We didn't know what was going on," recalled Jen Gonzalez.

What Ms. Gonzales and many other residents quickly realized was that the sound was a snapping fire; one that had already consumed much of the apartment unit below them.

"When we arrived, we had several units on fire, and we had people trapped. Some were hanging out the window," said HFD Battalion Chief, Robert Ross.

Ms. Gonzales tried to escape through the front door, but she says the flames had already reached her doorstep.

"There was so much smoke. You could feel the heat. Me and my boyfriend tried the window. It wouldn't open so he kicked it in," said Gonzales.

The sound of shattering glass alerted arriving firefighters from Engine 83 to the young couple's location. Firefighters secured a ladder to their windowsill and pulled them to safety.
Other neighbors were also caught off-guard by the fast-moving blaze.

"You don't really expect to wake up in the morning with a fire literally at your feet," said Rayshean Tinker. "The flames were actually approaching me. I could have died."

In all, fire investigators say at least eight units were damaged by the fire. The cause remains unknown.
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