Wind-Driven Fire at Houston Apartment Under Control

March 26, 2014

AP Photo/ Christopher Laski

In this photo provided by Christopher Laski a large apartment complex under construction is consumed by fire, sending black smoke billowing into the sky and drawing hundreds of emergency personnel, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Houston.

The wind-driven 5-alarm fire west of downtown Houston was under control by Tuesday afternoon, but not before it devoured an apartment building that was under construction.

"Of all the days for a fire to break out in Houston, this is one of the worst meteorologically," said meteorologist Nick Wiltgen. Wiltgen says a potent combination of 25 mph wind gusts and low humidity made the fire particularly tough to control.

Houston Fire Department (HFD) spokesman Capt. Ruy Lozano told the Houston Chronicle that one man was rescued as he prepared to jump to safety. HFD said no injuries were reported.

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.

Fire officials said more than 200 emergency personnel had responded to the scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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