Three-alarm fire erupts at Channelview flea market


by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News

Posted on March 16, 2012 at 7:01 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 16 at 11:10 PM

CHANNELVIEW, Texas – A three-alarm fire engulfed a flea market in Channelview early Friday morning.

It happened at the White Elephant Flea Market, located in the 15600 block of the East Freeway.

The blaze started around 3:45 a.m. and quickly grew to three alarms.

Multiple fire departments responded to the scene, and as of 7:30 a.m., the flames still weren’t out.

Crews were cutting triangular holes in the side of the metal building in a bid to vent the fire and get to some of the smoldering rubble.

Some of the business owners and employees rushed to the scene when they heard about the fire, but they were unable to tell what was left of their stores.

"I came back over here, and once I saw it, it was unbelievable. It’s crazy…. For this to happen now, it’s really heartbreaking," Diego Mata, an employee said.

The White Elephant’s owner said the flea market burned down completely in 1990, but he rebuilt. He estimated that hundreds of thousands of dollars of merchandise was likely destroyed in the latest blaze.

The market, which is normally open on Saturdays and Sundays, houses at least 100 vendors.

Paramedics at the scene said no one was injured.

The cause of the fire was not yet known.