Family away when fire ignites Victoria home (Video)
Aug. 4, 2012 at 3:04 a.m.
Updated Aug. 5, 2012 at 3:05 a.m.
Residents frantically abandoned their Victoria apartments Saturday afternoon when a fire erupted in their building at Convent and Navarro streets.
Sylvia Melchor, who lives in a downstairs residence, rushed her family out of the apartment when she saw smoke coming through the walls.
"I was so scared," she said. "I was just screaming 'Get out!' Someone wanted to grab stuff, and I was just like, 'No. No stuff. Just get out.' It is an old building, I knew it would catch quick."
She quickly alerted other residents and called 9-1-1, telling them that an upstairs unit was on fire.
"When we came outside, the fire was just all around their A/C unit in the window," she said.
The upstairs apartment caught fire and sustained extensive damage, according to Battalion Chief Roger Hempel, of the Victoria Fire Department.
The resident of the apartment, Mario Hernandez, was in shock when he arrived, having heard about the fire from his mother. His wife and children were not in the apartment when it caught fire.
He, his wife and three kids stayed with family members Saturday night, he said, but he did not know what they would do long term.
"I don't know," he said, shaking his head, staring at his gutted apartment. "I just don't know."
Hernandez was concerned about their belongings, but was ecstatic when firefighters emerged with the kids' dog, Cliseria.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Melchor said the wiring in the building is old and has had problems before.
Firefighters had the blaze extinguished in 20 minutes, Hempel said. Melchor's unit sustained water damage.