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Cause Determined in Wichita Falls Apartment Fire

Fire at The Woodlands destroys 12 apartments.
UPDATE:

A cause has been determined for a three alarm fire that swept through The Woodlands apartment complex Monday morning.

Fire officials say the fire sparked in apartment 241 when maintenance crews had cut through a wire while working on a wall.

The fire then spread throughout the complex. Almost a dozen families lost their homes in the blaze.

Fire officials say no firefighters, residents, or pets were injured. Damage is estimated around $520,000 dollars.

ORIGINAL:

What started as a one alarm fire ended up being three alarm blaze where fire crews battles flames at the Woodlands Apartments, leaving residents to standby by watching, waiting and hoping.

So far, the cause remains under investigation as well as the amount of damage the fire caused. But we do know that the fire has forced eleven families to find a new place to sleep.

"It's painful especially seeing all the little kids sitting out here and seeing all their stuff burning," says Cameron Robertson, who lives at The Woodlands.

But it was also tough for Cameron Robertson and other adults who live here.

"I smelled the smoke.  It woke me up.  I went and woke up my wife and son.  We ran outside and there was smoke everywhere.  No shoes on.  Just threw on some clothes real quick and that's all we've got left," Robertson says.

Many of these residents got to safety because of Allen Little. He says he was driving by, saw smoke, drove inside the complex and started knocking on doors to warn residents.

"There were a couple of people we had to assist out and a lot of pets that we went back for and it just happened so fast.  The smoke and the fire just took over then the fire department came," explains Little.

Fire crews waged war with flames that spread through the attic of this apartment building.

"We made an attempt at an interior attack for about five minutes then the fire broke through the roof and the roof started collapsing and that's when we pulled everybody out of the building and went to an offensive attack," says Chief Earl Foster with Wichita Falls Fired Department.

Although firefighters encountered a few close calls, fire officials say no crew members or residents were injured. And they say all pets made it out safely including a cat that was found hiding in closet.

The American Red Cross is helping at least one family with food and clothing tonight but not shelter because they say most of the fire victims are either staying with relatives or moving into other apartments owned by the Woodlands. If you would like to help the Red Cross assist these and other victims of fires, click on the following link:

http://www.redcross.org/tx/wichita-falls
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