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2-Alarm Fire Damages 6 Apartments

Firefighters battle a two-alarm blaze at a southwest Houston apartment complex.
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Firefighters battled a two-alarm blaze at a southwest Houston apartment complex Saturday.

Carlotta Smith and her son heard the first alarm at the fire at the Meadows Southwest Apartments on Wilcrest Drive shortly before 3 p.m.

"I could just see the fire coming out of the roof," she said. "It was pretty much breathing."

The blaze was billowing big clouds of smoke and radiating heat. That heat proved to be a challenging opponent for firefighters who were already dealing with temperatures in the 90s.

District Fire Chief Tommy Dowdy said about six apartments were damaged either by smoke, water or fire.

Dowdy said firewalls kept the flames from spreading from building to building.

"I just prayed and hoped for the best that nobody was hurt in the fire," Smith said.

While no one was directly hurt by the fire, the heat did slow down two firefighters.

They were not taken to the hospital, but had to be treated on scene to help them recover from the scorching heat.

"It makes it hard on them because they're barely into their shift, they're not even 12 hours into their shift, so they've got a long day ahead of them," Dowdy said.

As some residents helped the first responders hand out bottles of water on the scene, at least one person who lives in the complex had to be taken to the hospital when they could not cool down.

Dowdy said firefighters have it especially rough to their heavy protective gear.

"The gear's a double-edged sword," he said. "It keeps the heat out. It allows them to go in and attack the fire in a very hot atmosphere, but when they're moving around from place to place it holds the heat in."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.