Condominium Fire Originates In Fireplace - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Condominium Fire Originates In Fireplace

Orange flames lit up the night sky tearing through three floors of the condominium Friday morning.  How it started was quickly pin- pointed.

"It appears that the family staying in the condo tonight had built a fire in the fireplace," says Smith County Fire Marshal Jim Seaton.

Von Chreiman says that fire was burning in his room and everyone went to sleep with the fire going.

The hot flames they awoke to, after smoke alarms went off, were more than they could handle. 

"So we open the attic and there was flames in there.  So we went to the sink and got pots and filled them with water and was throwing it in there and we couldn't put it out. It just lit up like a match," says Chreiman.

Four different fire crews had to be called to the scene, trying to soak the blaze with a limited number of hydrants nearby.

"It took approximately two hours for the fire department to get the fire contained," says Seaton.

Meanwhile tenants had already evacuated the building, some of them tourists visiting East Texas.

"We managed to salvage a couple bags of clothes," says Scott White. He and his grandmother are visiting from Abilene.

Fire crews did some salvaging of their own, keeping the blaze from spreading to other units. The event was a wake- up call visitors at these condos never saw coming.

"I could have put it out if I had a fire extinguisher. But I couldn't find one anywhere," says Chreiman.

There was one reported injury. One woman who was trying to evacuate slipped and fell, breaking her shoulder.

Investigators are ruling the fire an accident.

Christine Nelson reporting.


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