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HOUSTON A huge apartment fire has left dozens of families homeless right before a bitter cold evening on Sunday, fire officials said.

According to the Houston Fire Department, the blaze started when a Christmas tree caught fire in an upstairs unit just after 2 p.m. in the apartment complex located on Westpark near Woodchase.

Firefighters said the fire was pretty intense and it burned through the roof and gutted the apartment. They said it was fed by high winds, which spread the flames from unit to unit.

Fortunately, everyone made it out unharmed, fire officials said. A passerby was actually the first to respond to the scene.

The Good Samaritan called 911 and then ran into the building pounding on doors to get people out.

A total of 16 apartments were destroyed, fire officials said. The Red Cross is assisting the families that have been left homeless.

People said they lost everything in the blaze and some of them are being allowed back into their apartments to try and salvage whatever they can.

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