Fire Consumes Houston Apartment Complex


A fire consumed a vacant Channelview apartment complex, five months after a massive blaze destroyed it, KPRC Local 2 reported Thursday.

The fire started around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at the South Grand Apartment Complex in the 15000 block of the East Freeway in Channelview.

"It was empty, and there was a gate around it," Channelview firefighter Charles Villegas said.

A locked fence has surrounded the property since July, when a 5-alarm fire destroyed 56 units and left more than 100 people homeless.

The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office determined the last fire was started by an electrical problem. But, this time, there were no utilities running to the vacant building.

"So, the cause of the fire is under investigation," Villegas said.

He estimated that there were 30 units in the building that caught fire overnight.

When crews arrived, heavy fire was coming from a downstairs unit and the flames quickly spread through a shared attic.

An insufficient water supply and high winds made the July fire difficult to battle. This time, Villegas said, firefighters were challenged by a lack of manpower.

"Initially on an apartment fire, it takes more manpower than usual," Villegas reported.

Nearly eight hours after the fire started, crews still had portions of the East Freeway shutdown at Dell Dale.

Motorists were advised to avoid the area.

Copyright 2007 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.