Dumpster fire spreads, destroys Heights townhomes under construction

HOUSTON – Firefighters battled a massive fire at vacant townhomes in the Heights Friday.

“It was scary. It was a little bit out of control for a little bit there,” said Melinda Faust with Mel's Seafood Shack.

Within seconds, flames surrounded townhomes under construction on 24th and North Durham just before 6 p.m. Friday.

“It's pretty amazing how fast it went it up and how large it got,” said Faust.

The sister duo from Mel's Seafood Shack smelled smoke, and instead of running from the fire, they ran to it to make sure no one was close.

“I saw a couple of kids playing, yelled at them that there was smoke in a building right behind them,” said Faust.

Firefighters said it started in a dumpster and quickly spread.

The C&D Scrap Metal warehouse was just feet away.

“That was a very, very hot fire. It's so hot that those steel beams have melted,” said Ownerowner Dennis Laviage.

Laviage was concerned it would cause an even bigger problem.

“We have vehicles with diesel and we didn't want anything to blow up,” said Laviage.

Everyone was glad the townhomes were vacant and it didn't spread to other buildings.

“That could've been a major, major disaster if someone had been around it when it happened,” he said.

The fire destroyed two townhomes and damaged two others.

Arson investigators worked to find a cause.