Fire destroys apartments under construction in Fate

Fire destroyed apartments that were under construction in Rockwall County Tuesday morning.

Six multi-level units caught fire near the southwest corner of Interstate 30 and FM 551 in Fate around 5:30 a.m.

The flames could be seen from miles away and quickly consumed the partially complete structures. Four buildings were completely destroyed and two more were damaged.

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Smoke could be seen from about a mile away from the construction fire in Fate. | Courtesy Garrett Chandler

Firefighters from several cities took a defensive position and used water cannons to try to protect nearby homes and businesses, including the FRESH by Brookshire's grocery store.

"We tried standing by that fence over there but the heat was so unbearable we couldn't stand close to it," said Duane Drost, who lives nearby. "We had embers flying. We tried to keep the grass wet, back of the house covered to make sure our houses didn't catch fire."

Drost said firefighters told him and other homeowners to be prepared to evacuate. Fortunately, he never had to.

Fate officials said some homes in the Williamsburg area to the south and west of the construction site were evacuated. Those residents have since been allowed to return.

It’s not yet clear what started the blaze. The Fate fire chief said it’s possible a grass fire could have spread to the construction site.

No construction workers were there at the time and no firefighters were seriously hurt.

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration but is expected to be okay, Fate officials said.