Woman Dies In Houston Fire

HOUSTON --

A woman was killed in a four-alarm fire that ripped through four houses west of downtown Houston early Monday, KPRC Local 2 reported.

Slideshow: 4-Alarm Fire Rips Through 4 Buildings

Houston firefighters said the blaze started at or near a house that was converted to an apartment building at 1922 W. Dallas St. near Taft Street at about 2 a.m.

The fierce flames quickly spread to neighboring buildings, officials said.

"The size of the structures is pretty large houses here," District Chief O. Longoria said. "You have two buildings on the front side, on the West Dallas side, and behind it another two buildings that caught fire."

Investigators said a woman was found dead under debris.

"It was a courtyard area -- very hot, very smoky," District Chief Curtis Seamans said. "Probably she was disoriented; couldn't find her way out. We're still investigating, but it appears that she almost, just almost made it out."

Her identity was not released. Officials said she was a well-known housekeeper who lived with her two adult children, who escaped from the blaze unharmed.

A pregnant woman was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

All of the other residents got out of their homes without injury.

Ten families lost everything.

Luis Ortiz said he and another man tried to help others out, but the fire was just too big.

"Me (and) another guy helped this other guy to jump over this fence," he said. "That was the last one we even tried because the fire was really hard, so we just ran away."

Area residents heard the commotion and watched the crews battle the blaze.

"The fire trucks were all crackling," Clifton Love said. "I didn't know if it was a shootout going on out here or what."

"I've lived here for 10 years," Diane Love said. "I've never seen anything like this before. Not a house fire. We've seen structure fires down the street, down toward downtown, but this is pretty -- I don't know what to say about this -- it's pretty dramatic."

Officials said two of the buildings would have to be torn down and another would have to be partially demolished.

Some power lines were destroyed in the fire. CenterPoint Energy crews worked to restore power to the neighborhood as quickly as possible.

Arson crews are working to determine the cause of the fire.

The American Red Cross is helping families that lost everything.

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