Residents Rescued Off Balconies in Houston Fire

The blaze started on the first floor, and spread to the second and third floors of the complex, officials said.


HOUSTON --

Firefighters rescued apartment residents off their balconies during a two-alarm fire in southwest Houston Wednesday, KPRC Local 2 reported.

Fire officials were called to the Heritage Apartments, located in the 2600 block of Marilee near Westheimer Road, shortly before 3 a.m.

The blaze started on the first floor, and spread to the second and third floors of the complex, officials said.

"The fire got up in the attic and started spreading. The chief called for a second alarm to get some more help coming and get them here. There were several rescues involved -- people off of balconies. They put ladders up and let them come down ladders," said District Chief Tommy Dowdy with the Houston Fire Department.

Neighbors banged on doors to evacuate the building. A blind resident was very thankful for the help.

"Basically, I just smelled the smoke. Then, I heard the banging outside," Vladimir Fogel said. " My neighbors banged on my door. They helped me get out safely."

No serious injuries were reported, but some people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

An electrical short on the first floor near the gym is believed to be the cause, officials said.

The cleanup began early Wednesday morning.

Resident Blanch Abramson said, "I can't go back into my apartment because there's a lot of smoke damage. It's not destroyed but it needs a doctor."

One unit and the gym were destroyed in the fire. The clubroom received a lot of damage.

More than a dozen residents were displaced, but the American Red Cross Greater Houston was on hand to help them find a temporary place to stay.

They should be able to return to their apartments in two days, according to the apartment manager.

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