SHERMAN, Tex – After a two alarm fire destroyed at least 12 apartments Monday night, officials are left with the cleanup process, the investigation, and finding new homes for dozens of tenants.
Fire Chief J.J. Jones says Sherman fire officials have narrowed the cause down to a grease fire that started in the kitchen of one of the units, and while the fire was accidental, the tenant who lived in that apartment is no where to be found.
It began just before seven o’clock Monday night as flames shot into the air and tenants watched concerned for their homes.
"Our first efforts were to make sure everyone was out of this building. There were 19 units in this one building, a total of 59 in the complex. When all three were evacuated, crews began to contain and extinguish the fire," Jones said.
The scene Tuesday morning is one of destruction and despair- charred floors, cabinets and what's left of someone’s home.
"As you can see the fire destroyed much of the center building. We have four units that were completely destroyed, eight that sustained heavy damage,"
Jones says the two alarm fire forced residents out of the buildings. Electricity was cut off and Tuesday morning, the center building remains without power.
Those who lived here say they're just thankful to be alive.
""I wasn't sure if it was going to get in my apartment, if I was going to lose everything I own. I just moved into these apartments four months ago and I’m on TCOG so it’s just really nerve-racking," one apartment tenant said.
While many that are under TCOG assistance will be able to move into a new apartment complex, others are left without homes depending on the Red Cross for help.
"I’m just praying and hoping. I’m on TCOG, so I’m hoping that will help. I don't know what to do yet," that tenant said.
Sherman Red Cross says a shelter has been opened for those affected by Monday night’s fire. If you need assistance, St. Anne’s Place, located at 720 South Travis in Sherman, is now open.
As far as the tenant who started the fire, he was last seen leaving the complex right before the flames got out of hand. We’re told no charges will be filed since it was accidental.