2-alarm apartment fire displaces families in southwest Houston

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on October 28, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 28 at 12:40 PM

HOUSTON—Firefighters spent several hours Saturday night battling a blaze that destroyed a residential building at the Wilcrest Park Townhomes in Southwest Houston.

The fire started just before 7 p.m. at Wilcrest and Spice Lane.

Witnesses said they first saw flames coming from a kitchen, but investigators are still not sure how the fire started.

On what was one of the coldest nights of the season, Victor Balandra stood outside his burning building holding his sons, ages 5 and 7.

He said he had picked them up from a babysitter’s house and that his apartment was in flames when he returned.

“I left and within 25 minutes the house started burning,” he said.

“It came out a window, it got on the roof and then boom—it spread all over,” witness Minh Ngueyn said.

The fire quickly grew to three alarms and engulfed the building. Winds picked up; fanning fears it could spread to several neighboring apartment buildings as well.

“Fortunately we were able to get ahead of it and stop it from spreading,” HPD Spokesman Jay Evans said.

Many tenants told 11 News they were uninsured and said they did not know where they will stay now.

American Red Cross volunteers assisted at least seven families affected by the fire, Red Cross officials said.

The power was shut off for several blocks, which affected neighboring homes and businesses.

No serious injuries were reported.

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