DALLAS - Dozens of people lost their homes and almost everything they owned after a fire erupted at a Northeast Dallas condominium complex early Wednesday morning. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt.
It took nearly 90 firefighters to tackle the massive four-alarm fire at the Sable Ridge Condos near Northwest Highway and Abrams Road. It’s the second large fire that’s happened at the complex in the past two years.
When firefighters arrived around 1 a.m., they saw smoke and fire coming from the first and second floors of the building. They initially focused on extinguishing the flames and preventing the fire from spreading. Crews later realized the fire was more than they could handle and had to call for more help.
The firefighters began attacking the fire from the outside using water to put out the flames coming from the roof and underneath the floor spaces. Thankfully, everyone was able to make it out of the 30 buildings.
A majority of the condos were a total loss because of smoke and water damage. Crews began tearing down the building just after noon.
Homeowners were given little time to collect belongings before heavy equipment moved in to tear everyone down. Nearly 90 people lost their homes.
"I lost everything. I lost my high school diploma. Everything. All my clothes, shoes,” said Jani Jones, another Sable Ridge Condos resident. “It might not sound like a lot, but a lot of those things I cherish. It's a lot of stuff I'm not going to see again. A lot of those things I can't even replace."
“They told us we could go in, grab some stuff and gave us like a time limit of 10 minutes,” said resident Autumn Martin.
What Martin found wasn’t much. She credits her neighbor, Charleston Tunson, with saving their lives.
Tunson says he was awake after getting a 12:30 a.m. phone call and noticed smoke coming from a kitchen electrical socket. He then opened his front door to find the fire in the stairwell.
“I was just trying to hurry up and get out of the house,” he said. “I couldn’t grab nothing but my son, and I was just knocking on doors as I was getting him to safety.”
With his 3-year-old son in tow, Tunson also helped save other neighbors.
“I ran to my room and I got my babies, my 3-year-old and my 8-year-old, and I started throwing them out the window. And thank God, my neighbor was coming down from the second story. He started grabbing my kids,” said Megan White, whose condo was destroyed by the fire.
“If it hadn’t been for him knocking on everybody’s doors, there would be deaths over there right now,” Martin said.
Martin says she’d recently been worried about a possible fire and reported to the HOA what she says was smoke coming from the electrical socket of her clothes dryer on Thanksgiving Day.
“There were sparks coming out of the wall,” she said. “All of our lights were flickering.”
Shanera Smith is not sure if she’ll be sleeping in her car now that she’s lost everything.
“That’s material, you know? My life can’t be replaced. My cousin’s also out of her home too. Her, her grandbaby, her daughter, her husband," she said. "We’re just thankful to have life. We’re just thankful to have life. It could’ve been worse.”
In January 2018, a four-alarm fire left 50 people homeless at Sable Ridge and multiple units destroyed.
Dallas Fire-Rescue says the cause of Wednesday’s fire is still undetermined. For now, the Red Cross is operating a respite center to help get people back on their feet.
FOX 4 reached out to the HOA to ask about residents’ claims of sparking outlets but have not heard back.