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Officials Seek Cause Of Dallas Apartment Fire

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - An intense four-alarm fire sent the residents of a northeast Dallas apartment complex scrambling on Thursday afternoon. The American Red Cross said that 90 people have lost their homes in this incident. Now, investigators are trying to determine what may have sparked the flames in the first place.

The fire started just before 5:00 p.m. at the Stone Ranch Apartments, located in the 9300 block of East Skillman Street in Dallas. Only smoke was showing when emergency crews first arrived on the scene. But flames quickly spread into the walls and an attic space. The flames destroyed 24 apartment units and left another 24 units without essential services.

“Investigators believe that the fire began in a unit on the third floor of the building,” said Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans on Thursday. Flames tore through the roof and shot from the third-floor windows. Firefighters were on an engine ladder when a huge ball of flames burst out.

“Everything was scattered,” said one apartment resident. “Windows were popping. I thought the whole building was going to collapse, like 9/11.”

Crews had to leave the burning building and battle this blaze from outside, as residents ran for their lives. “I’m blessed for leaving the house as soon as possible, and I want to thank God for helping me with this,” said another resident at the apartment complex.

Rene Perez is only 16 years old and attends Hillcrest High School. He said that his family just moved into the apartment complex two weeks ago, and has now lost everything. “The lady from upstairs, she came out and started screaming that your apartment’s on fire, so they really didn’t have any time to take anything out,” he said. “We don’t have anything right now. We are just waiting to see what we do next.”

No residents were injured in this incident, but one firefighter was taken to the hospital after being hit by ceiling debris. He is in stable condition. The cause of the fire is now under investigation.

Crews remained on the scene on Friday to monitor hot spots and make sure that nothing reignited. Firefighters said that the building is not structurally stable, as the second and third floors fell down. Officials expect that the building will need to be bulldozed after the residents sift through the remaining debris.

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