HOUSTON – A mother remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon after a teenager helped her and her newborn son escape an overnight apartment fire.
The South Point apartments on Roydon Drive at Featherwood Drive caught fire around 1:15 a.m., according to the Houston Fire Department. Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading, but four units burned and four others suffered water and smoke damage.
Dillon Peters, 13, said he took a baby into his arms while his dad helped free the infant’s mother and grandmother.
“She was holding the baby like she was going to run through the path, but the heat was so bad, she knew she couldn’t do it, so she handed it to me, and my dad kicked down the gate so we could get out,” Peters told KHOU 11 News. “She just handed me the baby. I just looked at the baby and didn’t know what to do, and I saw my dad kicking down the thing and saying ‘Come on, let’s get out.’”
All of five made it out safely, but the infant’s mother went back into the fire to rescue her two dogs, firefighters said. Rescuers went into the burning building to find the woman and pull her out. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Family members told KHOU 11 News the mom just gave birth to baby Nicholas only two weeks before to the fire. Nicholas also went to the hospital with his mother, but he was not injured.
"It’s the same thing I would have done,” said Cliff Jordan, who is the injured woman’s brother. “Our family has always been about our dogs – almost like the kids.”
Elsewhere in the building, other residents were also assisting each other in getting out, most with only the clothes on their backs.
A woman, her husband, and her dog jumped from a second-floor balcony to escape the flames.
“I was scared because I didn’t want to throw him,” the woman said, referencing to her dog. “I was scared he might get hurt, but I just threw him, and they caught him.”
Other residents watched from a distance as the flames spread.
“I was asleep and heard some yelling,” said Cody Bruette. “My window lit up really bright, and I looked outside and this bottom apartment complex over here was just completely engulfed in flames. It rose to the apartment above it and then jumped over.”
Arson investigators with HFD were called to the scene to try and figure out how the fire started.