Fire Forces Apartment Residents to Evacuate - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/5/04 - Tyler

Fire Forces Apartment Residents to Evacuate

Maroza Moore was visiting his wife and two children at South Broadway Village last night.

"My little girl woke me up this morning telling me that she smelled smoke," Moore said. "We looked in every room upstairs. Nothing in our apartment was actually on fire. We opened up the gas thing, where the gas heater is, we opened it up. And it's on fire."

Moore says firefighters knocked down the door to the vacant unit next door and told him and his family to evacuate.

"We sat out in the car," Moore said. "And gas is shooting out the top of the apartment. It's shooting up out of there."

Moore is outraged that a vacant unit would catch on fire. But fire investigators explain the cause to be a malfunction in the central heating and A/C system. Officials say the thermostat in the vacant unit was left on at the lowest possible temperature, and in the cold weather, it apparently came on, and that's how the fire started.

"There's nobody even staying in number 40," Moore said. "Why is anything on in number 40?"

Moore says this isn't the first time the apartment's gas heaters have caused problems.

"Anytime that I've been here and cut the heater on, you just smell gas," Moore said.

Meanwhile, the apartment managers are allowing Moore's family and one other resident to stay in vacant units elsewhere.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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