Seniors rescue each other from southeast Houston apartment fire

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Dozens of residents in a southeast Houston apartment building had to evacuate this morning after a fire started on the second floor.

It happened around 3am in the Beall Village Apartments on North Macgregor Way.

Many elderly people live in the complex, including several who are wheelchair bound. Everyone made it out safely. Firefighters did not have to preform any rescues, instead neighbors tell ABC-13 they helped each other get out before crews arrived.

"I didn't see an adequate exit and so we just had to go for it," said Lester Smith. "I didn't have no instructions to get out so I just went for the front."

Smith says he lives on the second floor but went upstairs to help a friend who uses a wheelchair get out safely.

Other residents say they stayed inside as long as possible knocking on doors to wake people up.

"Finally I said forget it, let me call the fire department," said Mary Sherman, who lives on the second floor. "I lost my cat and I don't know where she is but I pray she's okay."

Firefighters are still trying to figure out how the fire started. They say the blaze was contained to one apartment because the concrete walls and ceiling kept it from spreading. The man who lives in that apartment suffered minor smoke inhalation and was the only resident taken to the hospital. He is expected to be OK.

Twelve units on the first floor were damaged by smoke and water. Those residents gathered in the building's cafeteria where firefighters say apartment management is handling the situation.
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