Fire broke out around 3pm at the Piper's Cove apartment complex on El Dorado at Zambolio, just east of I-45 in Clear Lake. Raging flames broke through the roof. By 4pm, the fire had gone to three alarms.
By 4:30, the fire was out, although firefighters continued to tend to hot spots. At least 24 apartment units were damaged. In all, 16 units at the Pipers Cover apartments had been damaged and 12 of those were destroyed.
One female resident was transported to a local hospital, suffering from a burned arm. Firefighters also saved at least two animals from the burning apartments. When firefighters entered one unit, a dog ran off. Firefighters also snared 2 scared cats.
"It appears that these 16 units had a common attic. It started in the middle of the building and basically traveled both ways through the attic. I have an unconfirmed report from the lady who was transported -- it was in her apartment -- that she may have had a candle too close to some curtains," said Houston Fire Department District Chief Tommy Dowdy.
There were a couple of problems, including one dead fire hydrant, which meant lines had to be stretched from further down the road. Also a fire station just blocks away has been closed for about 18 months for repairs. The trucks from that station were assigned to other stations further away from the complex. A council member is calling for an investigation into the situation involving the closed fire station.