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Latest on College Station apartment fire: daring jump from balcony, kitten missing

Posted at 10:29 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 23:29:30-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Fourteen units at the Holleman Oaks apartment complex in College Station stand charred and significantly damaged just one day after a massive fire.

Residents are rallying and picking up the pieces of their lives.

College Station fire marshals believe they know the location of the catalyst for Monday morning’s apartment fire.

“That’s a pretty easy thing to find," said Stuart Marrs, CSFD spokesperson. "We just look for the most burnt area, typically. And, we rely on witness reports. So we talked to the person who jumped out of the window and the person who caught the person who jumped out of the window. “

A resident made a narrow escape from smoke and flames by jumping from their window, caught by another person. Marrs said these individuals were treated on scene for injuries but did not require hospitalization.

Holleman Oaks resident Hannah Hornbaker, a Blinn College business student, and H-E-B employee, lives with her brother and grandmother on the second floor of the affected building.

Hornbaker recalled that her grandmother was home at the time of the fire while Hornbaker and her brother were at work. She relayed that her grandmother watched in terror as her neighbor made that jump, wishing in vain that she could help despite her own physical limitations.

“She doesn’t really leave the apartment because she’s disabled, so it’s really hard for her to go up and down the stairs since we live on the second floor," Hornbaker said. "So she hasn’t really left the apartment in months. I mean, I wasn’t really here to see it, but I can guarantee that it was really difficult for her to get out."

The Hornbakers lost sentimental items as well as pieces of furniture. They were able to evacuate their dog and pet birds, but their grey/brown striped tabby kitten named Presley has yet to emerge. Hannah has been sharing Presley's picture on Facebook, hoping someone sees her pet.

Residents like the Hornbakers are grateful for the outpouring of support that’s been shown.

“I got [my family] a hotel, and through my company, H-E-B, they’ve been really amazing in helping out with groceries," Hornbaker said. "The Red Cross has helped as well. Friends have been reaching out and offering whatever they can.”

The American Red Cross has been connecting victims to resources like the St. Vincent Depaul Society, which can accommodate furniture needs, and are providing food and temporary shelter for the residents.

Several residents also expressed a need for mental health services, according to the American Red Cross Heart of Texas chapter, and those resources are being provided. Holleman Oaks managers are relocating all displaced tenants to vacant units across their properties.

As overheard by KRHD, management did have to inform some residents who were not affected by the fire that their maintenance needs, like broken a/c units, may be delayed due to the massive influx of needs from fire victims.

According to the CSFD, while fire marshals are fairly certain about where the fire started, they are still investigating what actually caused the start of that fire.

To volunteer with the American Red Cross and assist families affected by fires like these, visit the following link: Central & South Texas | Texas Region | American Red Cross.

Presley the cat is a young, striped, greyish-brown female tabby, and photos of Presley appear to show she has yellow or green/light eyes. More is available at the following Facebook link from Hornbaker: Facebook

A GoFundMe for the Hornbaker family has been started here:
Fundraiser by Ariq Rahman : Donate to help Hannah and my in-laws (gofundme.com)