Texas Apartment Fire Kills One, Displaces 100

PASADENA, Texas --

One man died and nearly 100 families were displaced after a 3-alarm fire tore through a Pasadena apartment building early Friday, KPRC Local 2 reported.

Slideshow: 3-Alarm Fire Tears Through Building

Flames broke out at the Bryton Hill Apartments, located at 507 Richey Street near West Jackson Avenue, at about 4:30 a.m.

Houston and Deer Park firefighters were called in to help Pasadena firefighters battle the massive blaze at the three-story building.

The Pasadena fire marshal's office said one resident did not make it out of his ground-floor unit. His name was not released. Investigators said the fire might have started in his unit.

Neighbors said the victim was heavy smoker.

"We saw a big fire and we heard windows breaking and stuff like that," resident Dalia Martinez said.

"They were knocking on the door really loud and told us to get out. They even pulled me out. They were saying there was a big ole' fire, so what we did was just get everything right there (in a backpack)," resident Stephanie Gomez said.

Twelve units were destroyed and power was knocked out for 120 others. Only a few residents were allowed to return to their units for a change of clothes, identification and valuables.

The fire spread quickly because the building was constructed in the 1960s and does not have firewalls, officials said.

"Everybody here in this apartments has got no insurance," Frank Montes said. "The apartment has got no insurance. Everybody here lost all their stuff. They need to pay or somebody help us."

American Red Cross representatives went to the complex to help displaced residents.

An emergency shelter was set up a few blocks away at De Zavala 5th Grade Center, 101 E. Jackson, in Pasadena.

"We give one week's worth of food, clothing allowance and there's an allowance for bedding. That's what we're giving them right now," said Tim Kidwell with the American Red Cross.

Any fire victims needing assistance can call the American Red Cross - Houston at 713-313-1608.

Emergency workers said most residents would be allowed back in their apartments within a few days.

The Red Cross will help those who need longer-term housing.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.