'Tornado of fire' Raging flames at Tomball apartments caught on TranStar cameras

TOMBALL, Texas (KTRK) -- Multiple families managed to escape a 2-alarm fire at an apartment complex early Thursday morning in Tomball.

Calls first started coming in around 4:15 a.m. at the Cobble Creek Apartments on Lawrence Street.

When crews arrived, flames were shooting through the roof, and firefighters had to call for backup.

The fire was so large, it could be seen on Houston TranStar cameras.

ABC13 talked to families at the scene who said the fire was just another blow in an already difficult time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Like 2020 on flames, that's what it looked like. It was just a horrible sight. I'm still speechless from the whole thing," said resident Shakena Smith.

Smith said she was woken up by banging and noises, then saw a building engulfed in flames.

"Coronavirus, this. Like one of the neighbors said, it's just the icing on the cake now," Smith said. "If I could give 2020 back, I would."

Another resident, Richard Pagan, said he grabbed his three kids, his girlfriend, and their clothes and got out.

Pagan described it as a "big 30-foot tornado of fire coming off the roof" that made it difficult to breathe once outside.

"I am tired of this year. It seems like it never ends," Pagan said. "You pray everybody got out okay. The firefighters did an awesome job getting the fire out as fast as they could."

Thankfully, no one was hurt.

The fire started in a top unit and spread quickly because the units share a common attic.

The cause is under investigation.

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