Story Updated: March 3, 2017 11:15 AM
BENBROOK (CBSDFW.COM) – A man died and two women were injured after fire ripped through a Benbrook apartment complex early Friday morning.
Heavy flames and smoke were shooting from the roof of the St. Nicholas Place Apartments, located along Williams Road just off of Benbrook Highway, when firefighters first arrived just after midnight. A second alarm was quickly called.
Crews from Benbrook, Fort Worth and White Settlement battled the flames, but found one man dead inside of a first-floor apartment unit.
Two women jumped from the second floor to escape the fire and had to be taken to the hospital. One of the victims may have suffered a broken leg, said Chief Tommy Davis with the Benbrook Fire Department. The names of the victims have not been released.
Chief Davis explained how the flames moved through the building. ” The main fire was right in the walkway in the middle.”
Richard Gifford crawled out of his first-floor window to escape. “Girlfriend said the apartment’s on fire,” he recalled. “I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ I laid there a second and thought I was dreaming. Sure enough, I wasn’t dreaming. We tried to go out the front door and it was already engulfed.”
Twelve of the 39 units were either burned or damaged by smoke and water, leaving 16 people out in the cold. The American Red Cross was called in to help those who lost their homes.
There has been no word yet on the cause of the fire. Gifford said that the smoke detectors did not sound. “The smoke and everything was so bad that we barely could get out the window. I mean, it just happened fast,” he added.
Chief Davis said some residents also told him that the smoke detectors didn’t work and it’s “a big concern.”
Several residents said they were upset at the landlord because of various problems they’ve had over the years. When owner Jerry Aldridge was asked about it he said that he takes complaints seriously and fixes issues immediately. But Aldridge said in this case no one ever told him there was a problem and that it’s up to people living at the complex to let him know.
Apartments are required to have working smoke detectors at move-in, but according the website Texas Tenant Advisor residents must also give landlords notice if there’s a problem.