Investigators May Never Know Cause of Apartment Fire - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/17/02 - Longview

Investigators May Never Know Cause of Apartment Fire

The cause of Friday morning's deadly apartment fire in Longview may never be proven.

Fire investigators made the announcement during a morning press conference.

They said the fire burned too hot and too long, for them to be able to tell, unequivocally, what caused the fire.

Investigators now know Friday morning's blaze began in the living room of apartment 220.

That's the home of two of the victims, Obie and Elizabeth LeBlanc.

But what investigators may never know is how the fire started in the first place.

"Due to the duration and intensity of the fire an exact fire cause could not be determined," says David Harper with the Western National Response team.

Underneath the LeBlanc's in apartment 120 was Letourneau student Matt Pfiefer, the fire's third victim.

Investigators say there's no evidence to suggest the blaze was intentionally set.

"I never heard my smoke detector go off, never heard it," Michael Morris recalls escaping his apartment the night of the fire.

Michael Morris was in apartment 120 with Matt.

Michael escaped.

Michael and other residents here say they weren't adequately protected from the fire.

"#4 building had no extinguishers whatsoever just like we found here. #3 had extinguishers but they was out of date. We could have at least attempted. I'm not saying we could have saved the building but at least it's better to know that you can come out your door and grab a fire extinguisher," says resident David Phillips.

"I'm not saying that you don't have some genuine concerns here I'm just not sure I'm at the point where I can really give you what you're looking for," says fire marshal Davis Whitehurst.

Residents say they won't stop until they get answers to their questions.

In the meantime they say they are helping each other get through this crisis and remembering the lives lost so quickly.

Clothing and other donated items were given to residents who were burned out of their apartments.

Residents are still in need of cooking utensils and bedding.

If you'd like to make a donation you can contact in any area church or the local Red Cross.

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