A fire that apparently started in the kitchen of an upstairs apartment unit Monday afternoon in Longview uprooted tenants in five units of the eight-unit building, according to a tenant and Longview Fire Department.
Longview Fire Chief J.P. Steelman said firefighters arrived at 5:21 p.m. at the Summer Green Apartments at 110 E. Hawkins Parkway and got the fire under control at 5:41 p.m.
Steelman said tenants evacuated on their own, and no one was injured. However, he said a firefighter received a minor injury to his shoulder and was treated at the scene.
Anthony Smith, 37, said he has lived for about a year in the two-bedroom upstairs unit where the fire started.
He said he was playing Xbox inside the apartment at about 4:30 or 4:35 p.m. while his wife, Melissa, was at work and son, Nathan, 3, was attending preschool.
“And I went outside to smoke a cigarette, and I sat on the patio,” Smith said while he sweated outside. “And I came back in, and my kitchen was on fire.”
Smith said he could not reach the fire extinguisher, because it was too close to the fire. He said a downstairs neighbor grabbed him and handed him a fire extinguisher, but by then, the fire was too hot.
He said he called his wife at her job and police.
“Everything was damaged,” Smith said. “Furniture. My son’s room. Kitchen. But I don’t know if my bedroom was burned.”
The fire caused heavy damage to the Smith family’s unit and fire and heat damage to a neighboring second-floor unit, Steelman said. The first-floor units also received smoke and water damage, he said.
Steelman initially said eight units were made uninhabitable because water and electricity had to be shut off, but updated the information by indicating tenants will be able to return to two first-floor units and one unit on the second floor.
The fire department responded by sending three engine companies, two ladder truck companies, two battalion chiefs, a medic crew, rehab officer and a fire investigation with a total of 23 people, Steelman said.
The American Red Cross, which provides assistance to people displaced by fires and other disasters, also arrived at the complex.
Steelman said authorities also closed off Judson Road from Loop 281 north to the apartment complex for about 20 minutes.