Apartment fire in northwest Houston
HOUSTON—Thursday evening at the West Vintage Apartments became a tense and nervous time for residents who wondered if they had anything left.
“I’m OK,” said Rachelle Sada. “I’m crying here and there.”
Sada lost family portraits and personal mementos. She said she was inside her unit a few hours earlier when something blew up.
“And I heard my windows shake,” said Sada. “And I tried to make sure my kids were OK.”
Bill Trevino lives in the building next door, but when he heard the noise he came running to help.
“We ran and started knocking on the doors,” said Trevino. “Get out. Get out. Get out. You know.”
All but one person managed to escape. Authorities said a man who rented the apartment with his brother was killed inside of the unit that exploded.
In all, the blaze climbed to two alarms. A lack of water pressure from nearby fire hydrants complicated fire fighter’s efforts. And the mystery surrounding the cause lingered.
“Now we’re trying to find out why it blew up,” said Cameron Atchison who owns the complex.
“There’s no gas here. No nothing. So we don’t know why you’d have an explosion like this in this property,” said Atchison. “They’re going to try to find out if there were other things going on in that apartment. We don’t know.”
Eventually some questions did get answers. Residents managed to salvage belongings that were thought to have perished.
But Sada, who managed to escape with her two small boys, left something irreplaceable behind.
“I left my cat in there,” said Sada. “And my older son was just crying for him. So I want to go in there to see if he’s OK.”
HPD homicide detectives were assisting in the investigation surrounding the deadly fire and explosion.