Firefighters hurt battling house fire

Fire destroys former home of NAACP

HOUSTON - At least two firefighters were injured while fighting a house fire in southeast Houston.

The fire broke out about 9 p.m. Wednesday at a home on Wheeler near Bastrop.

Clifford Semien lives nearby. He said the flames were out of control.

"All I saw was flames coming up from the bottom floor, going up to the top," said Semian. "By the time I got there, it was already to the second floor."

Semian said he was worried for the nine people he said live inside the home.

When fire crews arrived, there were initial reports that residents may have been trapped inside. As all nine rushed out, firefighters rushed in, dowsing the flames with water.

A spokesperson for the Houston Fire Department said while crews were inside the home, part of the brick siding collapsed on top of them.

"We did send two fire fighters to the hospital," said Jay Evans with the Houston Fire Department. "One had some bruising on his shoulder and possibly some broken ribs."

The other firefighter was shocked by an exposed wire, officials said. Both were expected to recover.

Hours later, fire crews were able to douse the remaining hot spots, but officials said the home was destroyed and most of the resident's possessions were turned into charred debris.

"They lost everything," said Semien. "They can replace that, but thank goodness, by the grace of God, they still have their lives. It's more important than anything else materialistic."

The house previously housed the NAACP.

Fire officials said 90 firefighters had to help with the fire. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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