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"I saw the flames everywhere"; no injuries or fatalities reported in Killeen apartment fire

Killeen apartment fire
Posted at 8:19 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 21:19:07-04

KILLEEN, TX — The Killeen Fire Department responded to a call of smoke believed to be coming from the attic of an apartment building on O. W. Curry Drive.

Fire officials say within minutes the top floor of the multi-family apartment building was engulfed in flames.

"That's an inferno," said one witness, Morris Harris.

Harris was driving around minding his business, as most folks do on a Wednesday night, when curiosity took him down O. W. Curry drive.

"I was wanted to be nosey, and I just pulled over and I saw the flames everywhere," Harris said.

Among the blaze, sirens, and flashing lights, Harris and a group of bystanders gathered hand in hand and leaned on their faith, hoping no one was injured.

Harris said, "Some of the people that were standing around were saying they think lightning had hit that apartment complex."

Witnesses at the scene said they saw lightning hit the building, and moments later the top portion of the building was in flames.

James Kubinski, Killeen's Fire Chief, said the fire in the multifamily apartment complex took about an hour to get under control but took much longer to clear the scene.

"We are going to confirm that with contacts we have at Texas A&M University who are able to give us direct GPS coordinates of lightning strikes in the area," said Kubinski.

"Companies did not clear the scene for nearly 5 hours because of the number of hot spots that needed to be taken care of," said Kubinski.

The Arbors Apartment fire is eerily similar to another fire at the Hilton Garden Inn. Both fires were weather-related, happening on the same block.

Chief Kubinski said the cause of the fire at the Hilton Garden Inn is still undetermined because the area where the fire started was completely destroyed.

However, based on the cold weather and frozen sprinkler system, fire investigators believe with a high degree of certainty the fire was weather-related and did not involve any suspicious activity.

Kubinski said, "It's not very common at all. To see two large fires like that within a 4- or 5-month period, it is definitely the exception and not the rule."

Kubinski said no tenants, pets, or firefighters were harmed in Wednesday night's fire.

"You can find a new place to live but you can't get another life, just glad everyone is safe," Harris said.

Management at the Apartment complex says there are plans in the works to repair the building.