Man dies in fire at Justine apartment building in Galveston

GALVESTON, Texas - Galveston fire officials say one person has died as a result of a fire in a mid-rise building this morning.

The fire at the Justine building at 503 21st Street was reported just after 5 a.m. Friday. According to Galveston Fire Chief Mike Wisko, when firefighters arrived they saw heavy smoke was coming from the third floor and above.

"We made it to the third floor pretty quickly and found apartment unit ten on fire. They did a search and found one victim in that apartment. We found additional victims on upper floors, " said Chief Wisko.

The man from apartment ten was rushed to University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His identity has not been released.

Four other occupants were evacuated using a rear fire escape. The other victims did not require hospitalization.

The five-story Justine apartment building has been opened since the 1960's and has about two dozen occupants.

While the building did not appear badly damaged on the outside, residents were being kept from re-entering the building until inspectors could determine if the building is safe.

The Fire Marshal's Office is currently investigating the cause of the blaze. The building is closed until further notice as smoke and water damage is mitigated.

The building did not have a sprinkler system because of its age, which exempts it from current city fire code requirements.

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