Fire destroys judge's million-dollar River Oaks home

HOUSTON – A judge's million-dollar home in Houston's River Oaks neighborhood was destroyed by fire late Thursday.

The fire at the home of Civil Court Judge R.K. Sandill and his wife was reported about 9:40 p.m. at the corner of Meadow Lake Lane and Drexel Drive.

"I could see flames, really high because that's a tall house," said Bart Wittrock, who lives in the neighborhood. "You could see it was going to be a complete loss. They didn't have it under control at all."

Firefighters said the modern design of the home made containing the fire difficult. They battled the blaze for nearly two hours but had to evacuate when their air supply ran low.

“They made their way to the first floor when one of the firefighters started running out of air and did call for a mayday, but luckily he was right at the front door,” said Houston Fire Department Deputy Chief Blake White. “Our primary prevent crew was right there. They were able to get him out.”

The firefighter was taken to Memorial Hermann for treatment of smoke inhalation.

Firefighters were called to the house a second time about 7 a.m. Friday after a neighbor reported seeing more smoke coming from the roof.

The homeowners were able to safely escape and said they believe an electrical problem is to blame for the fire.

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