Firefighters battle fire at 3 vacant houses in Houston

Published On: Feb 15 2013 10:53:47 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 16 2013 12:19:01 AM CST

Feb. 15, 2013: The Houston Fire Department says arson investigators are looking into a fire that burned down three homes in Southeast Houston. Irika Sargent reports.

HOUSTON -

The Houston Fire Department says arson investigators are looking into a fire that burned down three homes in Southeast Houston.

A few feet more and a family's house would have been the fourth to go up in flames, according to officials.

However, firefighters and a Good Samaritan stepped in just in time.

Around 3:40 pm on Friday, Ezequiel Garza said he noticed thick black smoke filling the air as he drove by Endor at Holland Court.

"I see people going crazy, but I see nobody on the phone," said Garza.

Garza said he got out of his car, ran over and dialed 911. He said the fire was burning at an abandoned house, then the flames quickly leapt to two other vacant houses nearby.

"After five minutes, the fire just got crazy," said Garza. "It kind of freaked me out a little. It was time for me to go to the front. There was no point in me sticking around back here."

Garza said as he was walking out of the alley to the street, he noticed a woman and her children still inside a home right next door.

"I see the fire close to this house, so I'm deciding is the family still in there or not," said Garza. "I just decided to pull everybody out."

Soon, Houston firefighters were on the scene fighting the three burning vacant houses from all angles, and stopping the flames from spreading to the occupied home.

The families nearby were all thankful that they didn't lose their lives or any of their belongings.

However, with the fire in the abandoned houses out, firefighters said the scent of gasoline mixed with the smell of smoke, leading them to believe the fire was suspicious.

"We called the Houston Fire Department's arson department, and now they're here on the scene investigating," said Houston fire department spokesman Jay Evans.

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