HOUSTON – Several families are displaced after a massive blaze consumed an apartment building in northeast Harris County.
According to authorities, the fire broke out just before 1 a.m. Friday at the Haverstock Hill Apartments on Aldine Bender Road near Lee Road.
When firefighters arrived, smoke was billowing from the building and flames shot up between 100 and 150 feet in the air as people scrambled to get out of their apartments.
It took over an hour to get the blaze under control, and video showed the moment the stairs and building began to collapse.
One woman said neighbors were frantically trying to get people out of their units, so they were banging on doors, throwing bricks or anything they could use to get the attention of people on the second and third floors.
“Somebody was bammin’ and bammin’ telling us to get out,” said resident Carolyn Dalcour. “When we were trying to get out, (there) was fire and pieces of lumber that had fallen from the third floor all the way down to the front of my door, so we just grabbed my purse with my bank card and stuff in it and money and ran out. Couldn't grab nothing, no clothes, just what I got on because I (was) sleep. I took my medication -- I'm on 18 pills a day -- and ran out the house.”
Ireadair Emer has a prosthetic leg and her daughter, who lives nearby, had to rush over to help Emer escape the blaze.
“Toughest part is knowing that I am handicap and I didn't really have nobody," Emer. "(I) could smell the smoke. I don't know really how close it was to me. (My daughter) helped me put on my leg and I walked out with her, she was like, 'Come on mama, come on mama,' I came out naked and everything."
Emer, like the other resident of the building, lost many of her precious memories in the fire.
"My son’s urn is up in there, my grandson urn," Emer said. "They already passed, so a lot that’s close to me is gone.”
Firefighters said the fire-damaged 24 units and 24 families have been displaced. Authorities said all residents are accounted for and there have been no reports of injuries.
The Red Cross is on the scene and working to rehome the displaced residents. The cause of the fire is under investigation.