Massive fire breaks out at Old East Dallas apartment complex

Image 1 of 4

Dallas Fire-Rescue sent nearly 90 firefighters to put out an apartment fire in Old East Dallas Tuesday afternoon.

Two buildings at the Bluffs of Lakewood Apartments caught fire on East Grand Avenue around 3:45 p.m.

The fire quickly grew to four alarms before firefighters were able to get it under control. Video from SKY 4 earlier in the day showed the massive blaze shooting through the roof of the three-story building.

Dallas Fire-Rescue says the fire seems to have started in the attic, spread to the third floor and then down to parts of the second floor. What the fire did not damage, smoke and water did. Dozens of people lost their homes. The smoke could be seen miles away.

More than 30 apartments destroyed by this fire that broke out. Firefighters initially moved in for an offensive attack, but they later pulled out and assumed a defensive strategy.

But before firefighters could get into position, it was neighbor helping neighbor.

“I just started running up the building and knocking on units and just trying to clear everyone out to make sure no one gets hurt or anything like that,” said resident Vincent Mainville.

Joseph Woolridge and his fiancé, Danielle Hardison, were among those to get a knock on their door. They opened it and were clouded by smoke and threatened by flames.

“You just see people running out. A lot of kids running out. A lot of chaos,” Woolridge recalled.

“Felt like a fireplace. So much heat coming,” Hardison recalled. “You could see the debris coming down.”

9-year-old Marco Torres Junior was playing outside when he saw the fire and ran for his dad. They helped together, too.

“We started running and knocking on doors making sure that there were no people in there,” Marco said.

No one was injured, but there are a lot of material items lost.

Woolridge and Hardison's apartment is one of the 33 uninhabitable, but their concern was for others.    

“I feel bad for one of my neighbors. She actually just lost her husband not too long ago and then her apartment burned all up and she lost her two dogs,” Wooldridge said.

Dallas Fire-Rescue ended up rescuing those dogs and other pets. An investigation is underway to determine how the fire started.

The Red Cross is assisting people affected. They say the complex has some vacant units to move some of these people into. The Red Cross is working with others to accommodate them in hotels.                     

No injuries were reported.