Firefighters rescue 2 people after candle sparks house fire in NE Houston

HOUSTON – A Houston man is recovering in the hospital and is now homeless after the house he shared with a roommate accidentally was set on fire when a candle was being used for light.  

Firefighters said people in about three other homes are now without heat and power, on one of the coldest nights of the season, because they shared power with the home that burned, and the power had to be shut off to fight the fire.

The call came in around 6 p.m. Tuesday and, by the time firefighters arrived, flames were shooting well over 15 feet into the air. The home, in the 2000 block of Lee Street, near Highway 59 and Quitman near the Fifth Ward, was completely burned from the inside out.

One of the two residents said the fire was started by a candle being used for light. She said she lit the candle, answered the door when a neighbor knocked and then saw the flames.

"After she left, I went back and the couch was on fire," Marva Montgomery said.  "I kicked the heater on because it was still on and I tried. It just got out of the space so fast. Something told me, 'Get out.'"

Montgomery got out but the woman's roommate was still inside. Firefighters were able to knock down the flames and rescue the man, who was transported to the hospital after he inhaled smoke.

Firefighters said, although this fire was not the result of someone trying to stay warm in the cold weather, it added to a day that's been plagued by the frigid temperatures.

"Responses have increased quite a bit," said District Fire Chief Mike Phillips, with Houston Fire Department. "This is the third structure fire I've made today. So, a lot of people doing whatever they can to stay warm."

The woman who lived in the home was driven to a friend's house. Her roommate, a man around 70 years old, is recovering at Memorial Hermann.

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