5-alarm Montrose apartment fire under investigation

By Mark Boyle - Reporter

HOUSTON - On Wednesday demolition crews brought down what was left of the massive apartment complex on the corner of West Dallas and Montrose.

The blaze that destroyed the building is now under investigation and arson investigators haven't determined an exact cause.

However, the chief operating officer of JLB Partners, Paul Johnston, said the fire started on the north side of the building but wouldn't elaborate past that.

Meanwhile, HFD is answering questions about the safety of the building. Things like sheetrock, self-closing doors and fire sprinklers are all required for properties like this but they aren't in place during construction, which is normal.

"All those systems aren't in place, it's under construction. That's why construction sites are so dangerous, that's why it [wind] got ahold of this structure so quickly," Capt. Ruy Lozano explained.

There were no injuries Tuesday despite there being more than 100 people on the construction site. There was one rescue of a man who was trapped but HFD says things could have been much worse.

"Had there been a delay of five or 10 seconds, we would be talking about a fatality right now, we wouldn't be talking about a rescue," Lozano said.

Across the street from the fire there are several homes, many of which have smoke or heat damage. Some have blown-out windows and even holes in patios.

Cathy Cordes isn't so worried about her house, but rather the cat she rescued. She said a small cat with severe burns was found in her garage early Wednesday morning.

"My dogs kept smelling under the toolbox and we didn't know what was going on. We went and looked and saw this cat under the toolbox meowing," Cordes told Local 2.

She rushed the cat to the vet, who says the cat will survive.

As for the complex that was destroyed, JLB Partners says it will likely rebuild and this loss will set them back about $35 million.

HPD has closed the following streets in order to ensure public safety:

  • Montrose Blvd from Allen Parkway to W Gray
  • W Dallas Street from Montrose Blvd to Van Buren Street

Copyright 2014 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.