Massive 5-alarm apartment fire in Houston ‘under control’

Houston firefighters work to extinguish a five-alarm fire at a construction site Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Houston. Fire officials said more than 200 emergency personnel were at the scene Tuesday afternoon and were working to protect nearby buildings. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Eric Kayne)
Houston firefighters work to extinguish a five-alarm fire at a construction site Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Houston. Fire officials said more than 200 emergency personnel were at the scene Tuesday afternoon and were working to protect nearby buildings. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Eric Kayne)

HOUSTON (AP) — A fire that destroyed a large apartment complex under construction in Houston was under control by midafternoon on Tuesday, according to authorities.

The Houston Fire Department said the blaze that sent thick, black smoke billowing in to the sky and drew hundreds of emergency personnel was “under control” about two-and-a-half hours after it started.

All construction workers who had been in the high-rise building were accounted for, and no injuries have been reported. Dramatic video surfaced Wednesday morning of the fiery rescue of one of those workers who got trapped on the ledge of a balcony.

Houston Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ruy Lozano told the Houston Chronicle that one man was rescued as he prepared to jump to safety. Fire officials said more than 200 emergency personnel had responded to the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Lozano told the newspaper that high winds caused the fire to spread quickly. Much of the building was reduced to rubble Tuesday.

The dramatic blaze first was reported about 12:30 p.m. The fire was upgraded to a five-alarm call about an hour later.

Lash LaRue told the newspaper that he was installing phone lines on the fifth floor of the building when he heard a loud crash and then saw the ceiling collapsing and flames shooting through.

“It was wicked,” LaRue said.

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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