Massive Apartment Fire Tests Limits Of Firefighters, Residents - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/18/08 - Tyler

Massive Apartment Fire Tests Limits Of Firefighters, Residents

A massive fire at Oxford Pointe Apartments has displaced dozens of people in Tyler Friday afternoon.

16 units caught were on fire. Investigators told us that three kids, ages 8, 5 and 3 were playing fort with a mattress and somehow caught the mattress on fire with a lighter.

Neighbors said their father attempted to put it out, and was unable to and called for help.

"When our units arrived there was heavy smoke on the second floor in the southwest corner. It didn't take long for it to spread throughout the attic," said Jeff Tucker, an investigator with the Tyler Fire Department.

The fire grew and grew, with many residents barely escaping.

"We were all in there asleep, and what happened was someone came knocking on the door and my mom came in there screaming get up, get up, so we came and hauled out of the door," said resident Ashley Morris.

It quickly grew to a 2 alarm fire.

"The fire when we arrived was blowing out the back of it and was threatening the other apartments. So the first thing we did was go to the other doors and make sure everybody was out of the other apartments just in case there was an explosion," said Tucker.

The entire 16 apartments in Building 1 were soon ablaze.

Firefighters working tirelessly to contain it to the one building. Within less than an hour the entire roof collapsed, as well as parts of the north and south walls.

"In the heat temperatures like this, it is very grueling on the firefighters especially when wearing bunker gear and the extra weight of the air pack. They are going to rehab, we have cold water ice. So far no firemen been injured. They are doing a real good job doing their job, taking a break, going back," said Tucker.

7 fire trucks and about 24 firefighters responded.

No major injuries were reported, though a few were treated by EMS.

Fire investigators say they've been able to enter the building later this afternoon to attack some of the hot spots, but the structure is still very unstable.

But the structure is still very unstable. They have been able to recover some valubles.

Only residents on the first floor were able to go in - the second floor is a total loss.

Danielle Capper, reporting. dcapper@kltv.com

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