HARRIS COUNTY, Texas -- A massive fire destroyed a hotel under construction on Hempstead Highway at FM-1960, injuring one of the firefighters called to the scene.
It was first reported around 3 a.m. Tuesday. Firefighters arrived to find a massive fire that caused portions of the four-story building to collapse.
Several hours later, firefighters with the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department were still looking through the smoldering rubble for any hotspots.
No serious injuries were reported, but one firefighter was sent to the hospital to get checked out for a burn to his neck, the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office said.
At the peak of the fire, witnesses reported seeing the blaze from miles away.
Guests at the neighboring Best Western motel had to evacuate.
“We could feel the heat from (the parking lot),” Tiffany Miller, a witness, said. “Stuff started flying off (the construction site).”
The flames spread from the not-yet-completed Comfort Inn and Suites into nearby trees and a dumpster.
“We were all pretty scared,” said Robert Roussell, who was evacuated from the motel next door.
“The heat on the door handle was really, really hot,” Blair Davidson, another evacuee, said.
That heat melted plastic on SUV mirrors. Other cars were covered in ash. Commotion outside woke everyone.
“I got a knock on the door,” said Omar Watts, who was also evacuated. “The police officer said, 'Get your things. We need you to evacuate the building.'”
“I heard some noise outside, looked, and flames were coming out the windows (of the building under construction),” said Mike Roberts, another person evacuated.
Roberts shot cell phone video on his way out. Davidson walked out barefoot.
“I just grabbed some stuff and just left,” Davidson said.
Like others he is safe, but concerned.
“Was it an arsonist attack?” he asked. “Was there construction being done at the time?”
There was no construction going on at the time of the fire. However, the cause remains under investigation by the fire marshal's office.
Firefighters, though, are happy no lives were taken.