HOUSTON—An early morning apartment fire in southwest Houston destroyed a second floor unit and equally ruined the Christmases of the apartment residents both above and below the fire.
The blaze at the Victorian Apartment Homes at Bissonnet and Coventry Square Drive began around 3 a.m. The female occupant of a second floor apartment screamed for help saying a lamp had fallen on her bed and caught fire.
“We just hear some lady start screaming and she tells us to call 911,” said Raul Diaz who lives next door.
The woman escaped with two young children as did the resident of the third floor apartment above her and a family in the first floor apartment below. Firefighters were able to keep the blaze from spreading through the rest of the apartment complex. But the third floor unit above was heavily damaged by smoke and the apartment below the fire was ruined by water.
“The whole apartment,” said Jose Mejia of his ground floor apartment where several hours later water was still pouring in from the firefight above him.
"All the presents are inside. All lost,” said Mejia who escaped with his wife and young son.
By noon the Red Cross was at the scene offering the families at least some temporary assistance. But Maria Franco and her neighbors said that even on a devastating Christmas morning like this they considered themselves lucky: as bad as this Christmas morning was at least everyone received the gift of getting out alive.
“Yes I think that’s the best Christmas,” said next door neighbor Guillermina Diaz. “That everybody’s OK.”
”We’re happy because we’re OK,” said Franco. “My family, everybody’s OK.”