Wheelchair-bound mother and 2 sons die in W. Houston apartment complex fire, firefighters confirm

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Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Wheelchair-bound mother and 2 sons die in W. Houston apartment fire
It appeared that there wasn't any effort made by the three residents to escape the fire, according to officials.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A mother and her two sons have died from injuries in an apartment complex fire in west Houston, firefighters confirm to ABC13.

According to officials, the fire started at about 4 a.m. on Whittington Drive.

Firefighters said the victims, a woman in a wheelchair and two children, believed to be between 10 and 15, were all located in the same apartment. It did not appear that any effort was made to escape the blaze, according to officials.

"The officer I was listening to says she was found in the wheelchair, and we believe two adolescent males," Deputy Chief Robert Garcia with HFD said. "One we believe was found on the bed."

Officials believe the fire started in that family's apartment but have not determined the exact cause.

SkyEye's video shows a partial collapse of the second and third floors. That was not thought to have contributed to the deaths.

At about 6:20 a.m., firefighters were still working to put out some hot spots.

"It's a blessing that I was still up because me and my son would have been gone. It was right there next to us. We would have never made it out," said Sheonta Singleton, an apartment resident who escaped the fire.

Etinne Ayers, another resident, was still awake when he smelled the smoke.

"I woke (my girlfriend) up and said I thought the building was on fire," Ayers said. "Then I went downstairs, and I came around the corner, and the entire side of the building was up in flames. I ran back upstairs and got her and said, 'We've got to go.'"

Ayers said his apartment was damaged by the water used to put out the fire, not the flames.

Initially, the man who lived in the apartment with the three victims was listed as unaccounted for. HFD was able to locate him at work.

In March 2020, a neighboring building caught fire at the complex and displaced almost a dozen families. That building has since been rebuilt.

The cause of the fire is still not yet known.

HFD Chief Samuel Pena updated about the fire on Twitter at 9:43 a.m., saying the apartment units were heavily damaged and officials were still searching for victims.

Initially, officials reported the victims were a woman in a wheelchair and two men.