IRVING, Texas - The high winds Thursday morning made it difficult for firefighters to stop the spread of a large fire at an apartment complex in Irving.
The fire at the Clarendon Apartments started around 8 a.m. It quickly grew to three alarms with flames shooting through the roof.
Firefighters were forced to tackle the blaze defensively. In the end, 22 units were either damaged or destroyed.
Within minutes, firefighters quickly realized strong winds would be a factor and called for more help.
"When they located the fire, it was already well advanced in a second-floor apartment,” explained Irving Fire Chief Rick Henderson. “And the wind just drove it down from one end of the building to the other."
More than 60 firefighters battled the blaze for an hour and a half before putting it out. Evacuated residents were stunned to see how fast the fire swept through the complex.
Keaira Hall lost everything, but she is thankful someone knocked on her door to get her out.
"The smoke was just flying over the buildings, flying over the building,” she recalled. “And in a short amount of time, everything was in flames."
Kendravin Hughes was getting ready for school and thought the iron was setting off the smoke alarms.
"We started looking around, and then we tried to cut the oven on to get the fans to get the smoke out,” she said. “That wouldn't work. So that's when I looked at the ceiling and saw the smoke coming out."
That's when Hughes called 911 and got his visiting grandmother out of the apartment. Their apartment's a total loss, too. But firefighters were able to recover her purse.
The American Red Cross is now helping the families that were displaced by the fire.
Two were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor smoke inhalation. They are expected to be okay.
Investigators believe the fire started in someone’s first-floor apartment. The cause is still unknown.