Fires break out at 2 apartment complexes

HOUSTON - Firefighters were sent to two apartment fires in northwest and southwest Houston within hours of each other.

Fire crews responded to the Pineforest Park complex on Pinemont at Reno at 11:30 p.m. Sunday and found flames shooting from an upstairs unit. Officials said moments after a couple escaped their burning apartment, the unit went up in flames.

"They were asleep and they said their smoke alarm went off and woke them up. Their apartment was full of smoke. They immediately got out and began to alert their neighbors," said Jay Evans with the Houston Fire Department.

The blaze burned four units. Three more had water and smoke damage.

At 7:30 a.m. Monday, firefighters rushed to the Westgate apartments at 2235 Winrock in southwest Houston for another blaze.

"Smoke was seen coming from apartment 174 and the heater was on fire," Evans said.

Officials said a family of five lived in a downstairs unit that burned.

Investigators said in both fires, families had earlier complained about issues with their heaters.

"We had a problem a few days ago with the heater and we reported it to management," resident Carlos Requens said.

The fire damage was contained to the downstairs unit.

Officials said everyone should be extra cautious with heaters now that cold weather has arrived.

"If any of the maintenance crews in apartments throughout Houston see a complainant ... (they) should tend to it because there is cold weather and people are using their heaters throughout the day," Evans said.

No one was injured in both fires.

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