2 killed, 1 injured in SE Houston building fire

HOUSTON – Two people were killed, and another person was injured Thursday in a fire at a building in southeast Houston.

The fire broke out just after midnight at the 20-unit building in the 4500 block of Griggs Road.

Firefighters said they found two bodies lying by the front door.

"It's apparently some type of boarding house with about 20 different individual living units, living sections. So, the firefighters were saying it's basically like a maze in there," Houston Fire Department Deputy Chief Fernando Herrera said.

A third victim was found alive toward the back of the building. He was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital with burns over 20 percent of his body and suffering from smoke inhalation, firefighters said.

Twelve people were able to get out before firefighters arrived.

“Someone was running down the hall yelling fire, fire, fire," says O’Neil Plattenburg, who lives in the building.

According to the Houston Department Of Public Works and Engineering, in 1997 the very same building was in such disrepair it was reportedly falling down and damaging adjacent buildings.

In 2004 a permit was issued to remodel the building.

In 2007 a permit was issued to operate a banquet hall in the building.

And then in January 2014 a request was made by owners to get a permit to operate the building as a boarding house or apartment.

Channel 2 Investigates has found that that request was denied after the Houston Fire Marshal Office denied the request, because the building did not pass the fire marshal's inspection and  fire code regulations were not met.

That means the building was not permitted to be used as a multi-family development.

“In 2014 the Houston Fire MarshalOffice denied their boarding house permit," says Ruy Lozano with the Houston Fire Department.

None of the victims have been identified.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600.  

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