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Dallas Firefighters Battle Two 5-Alarm Fires Simultaneously

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Residents who live in the Oak Trails Villas townhome complex in Lake Highlands said the 5-alarm fire looked like a scene out of a movie.

“It looked like it was raining fire,” said Justin Handler.

The fast-spreading fire burned the building housing 18 units to the ground; most of them under renovation. Zante Garcia has asthma and returned home across the street wearing a mask.

“It’s just really scary,” said Garcia.

Embers from the inferno blew across the street and burned the yards of several townhomes. But it pales in comparison to the extensive damage now left behind in a massive pile of charred wood, concrete and debris. “I just feel really bad for my neighbors and that whole thing, it’s just gone,” said Garcia.

Dallas-Fire Rescue crews put out remaining hot spots as investigators tried to figure out what sparked the fire. Two of the 18 townhomes were occupied, and firefighters rescued one of the resident’s dogs.

The dog owner was too upset to do an interview, but her neighbor is helping her regroup. “She is in shock and that’s the only way I know how to describe it. She’s very, very devastated, just trying to put things together,” said Pat Gilmore.

While 100 firefighters responded at the Oak Trails Villas complex, an additional 100 firefighters battled another 5-alarm fire three miles away at another apartment complex in North Dallas. A fire department spokesman said manpower in the very rare double event was never an issue.

“You look at the devastation and how big the fire was, it’s kind of shocking,” said Justin Handler, who was amazed at the devastation by the Lake Highlands fire.

Residents said they have complained to the city for years about the vacant townhomes. They said many people went in them when they weren’t allowed to do so.

Follow CBS 11 reporter Jack Fink on Twitter.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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