Tonight multiple families are forced to sleep away from home because of an accidental fire. It happened yesterday in the 2000 block of Jones, just across from Wichita Falls High School. Christine Cooper just finished moving her things into one of the home's three efficiency apartments this Saturday. Then Sunday, flames sparked in her neighbor's apartment.
Christine Cooper didn't suffer major damage in her apartment, but she says the smell of smoke and soot remaining from the fire is unbearable and unsafe. Firefighters say her neighbor accidentally lit the fire with a cigarette that was not put out properly. It was his home that suffered the most damage. Property Handyman Billy Ray Garrett says, "This one apartment was burned pretty extensively and it got up into the attic".
The apartment has broken windows, black walls, and burned home appliances. Property Handyman Ray Garrett says they are still trying to assess the damage to all the units and the attic. The Owner, Cleo Fischer says she didn't have home insurance, and Property Manager Rosy De La Cruz says the Red Cross is helping the tenants. Property Manager Rosy De la Cruz says, "The Red Cross is helping them out. They're giving them three days in a hotel. They're worried right now, where they are going to stay after this".
Today Garrett started boarding up the house to keep people from coming in and for the safety of children. And even though this is a loss for all involved, Garrett is looking at the positive. He says, "No one got hurt. No animals got hurt. Everybody got out. The Fire Department responded quickly".
Property Manager Rosy De La Cruz says one of the tenants saw the flames and called 9-1-1. She says the tenants without burned homes had to leave because there are no utilities available in the apartment due to the fire. The property owner says she will repair the property.