Fire investigators knew Friday night that one person was dead --two others missing following a deadly blaze at Pinehurst Apartments in Longview. Search teams recovered another body Saturday, but there's still one missing, according to Fire Marshal Davis Whitehurst.
Apartment residents who escaped the flames arrived in the afternoon to pay tribute to those who weren't so lucky.
"We will miss them it's just a sad thing," says Tammy Myers of her neighbors Elizabeth and Obie LaBlanc. The couple lived across the hall and apparently perished in the flames.
"I just never thought it would be us," Myers adds. "It's not just us, its 14 other families. And we lost Obie and Elizabeth too. They had a little dog named buster who was like their baby, and he's also gone" Myers says a LeTurneau student who lived below her is missing.
While authorities investigate, Myers and other residents are posing a few tough questions of their own. "The smoke detectors didn't go off," says Matt Horton, who jumped out a window the night of the fire. "And they took the fire extinguisher out about a year ago." Horton believes the apartment complex removed the fire extinguishers following a vandalism incident.
"We had no warning, nobody's smoke alarms went off," added Tammy Myers. A manager at Pinehurst said she her superiors told her to withhold comment, adding that the complex is giving information as they receive it. Fire investigators addressed the residents' concerns during a Saturday press conference.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, but agents with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are assisting local officials.
"We're normally called, in any type of major fire or explosion where the cause is not really apparent," says David Harper, a special agent with the ATF Western National Response Team. "We treat everyone of these scenes as if it's a potential crime scene."