Two Die In Longview Apartment Fire - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/20/07-Longview

Two Die In Longview Apartment Fire

It was a desperate scene in Longview as emergency personnel and even passing motorists tried to get people out of a burning structure. It happened just after 6:00 a.m. at the Thomas apartments in the 2000 block of Gilmer Rd.

It was a hectic scene as dozens of firefighters tried to get into position to battle the blaze that was quickly engulfing one section of the apartments.  Before crews arrived, motorists stopped to try and get residents out.

"We saw the fire coming off the apartment building behind me, and me and my friends knocked on doors, helped a lady and her kids get out of the house," said passing motorist Travis Smith.

"Upon arrival crews immediately tried to knock out the fire, and there was a lot of fire in this apartment complex," said Longview assistant fire marshal Mark Moore.

Accounting for residents, crews realized not everyone was out of the structure.  "We have confirmed that we do have fatalities in this," Moore said.

A 33-year-old woman and her 21-month-old son, never made it out of the apartment. Some say the fire spread so quickly, there may have been only seconds to get out.  "Within a few seconds they were coming out of the front windows, then back there out of the roof," said Smith.

Four apartments were destroyed, along with everything the families owned. Many firefighters were shaken at the two they couldn't save. Leaving investigators to find out why.

Fire investigators say that unattended cooking in one of the apartments is the cause for this blaze. The Red Cross is assisting the families displaced by the fire, and ask that if anyone would like to help the families, to call the Longview chapter of the American red cross.  Autopsies have been ordered in the case.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com

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