DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A three-alarm fire burned for nearly 90 minutes and destroyed about a third of an apartment complex Sunday in the 4700 block of Eastside Drive.
The blaze at the Five Trees Apartments began at about 4:06 p.m. and was put out at 5:28 p.m., said Dallas Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Evans.
When fire fighters arrived, fire was pouring out of the roof of a two-story building that housed 44 units. About 36 of those were occupied, Evans said, and every resident was safely evacuated.
Fire fighters doused the flames from inside on the second floor while another team stopped the blaze as it reached a common attack on the west and south side of the building. Evans said they were able to limit the damage to a third of the building.
“My furniture, my clothes, my pictures of my kids, you know, them growing up, everything. Everything is gone,” said resident Larry Contreras.
A resident told authorities that he was soaking his uniforms in gasoline to remove grease. He told investigators he’s been doing the practice for 20 years, but normally does it outside. On Sunday, he said he soaked them inside the apartment.
Fire fighters say the heavy fumes from the gasoline may have combusted and sparked the fire. The man ran out of his apartment and quickly alerted neighbors, they said.
“He came to me and my husband and told us that he was washing his clothes in gas,” said Wilma Mosley, a neighbor. “Me and my husband ran and the other tenets around the neighborhood started knocking on the doors, got everybody out.”
The Red Cross was on scene. Spokeswoman Anita Foster estimated that 13 families were displaced because of the fire.
Fifty-four fire fighters worked to stop the blaze, Evans said, and required 12 trucks and three rescue units. One fire fighter suffered a minor injury and was treated on the scene.
Evans said that person was able to work afterward.
The Red Cross is now assessing the damage and amount of help the displaced families will need, Foster said.
“I’m going to start over anyway I can. I got my family so that’s all I can do,” Contreras said.
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