IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – More than 80 residents are now homeless after a fire devastated an apartment complex in Irving. The incident happened at about 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night in the 200 block of Irving Heights Drive.
Firefighters faced a number of challenges in getting the flames under control. High winds fanned the blaze and extremely high temperatures (93 degrees at the time that crews had arrived) created a severe situation. Extra firefighter crews were needed on the scene so that officials could be rotated often.
Even getting water to the fire proved to be a challenge. The drought and dry ground has led to some shifting and weakening of water mains. One such water main gave way under the demands of firefighter hoses, leaving water pouring into the streets and gutters.
The fire has since been extinguished, but emergency crews will remain on the scene for several hours to keep an eye on hot spots (especially as temperatures continue to climb into the triple-digits for the 27th straight day on Thursday) and keep people away from the dangerous area.
Fire officials are still not sure where or how the fire started, and the building was still too dangerous for investigators to enter on Thursday morning. But residents said that they were stunned by how quickly the flames spread. “Most of them tried to grab as much as they can, I guess, from the very far corner buildings,” said resident Gilbert Quesada. “Try to get their pets out and a couple of their baby pictures and belongings, and just try to get away from the flames.”
Thankfully, there were no serious injuries reported from this incident. Seven people went to the hospital on their own complaining of smoke inhalation. However, the fire, water and smoke damaged two dozen apartment units, impacting 82 people. And electricity to the entire apartment complex was shut off, so even those who were not directly impacted by the fire – an additional 40 people – are now forced to find another place to stay.
The American Red Cross is helping out all of those victims with a temporary shelter and relief trucks stocked with first-aid supplies, food, clothing and blankets. Other volunteers are on the scene to provide families with financial assistance for the days ahead.