Cause of massive apartment fire still under investigation - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Cause of massive apartment fire still under investigation; arson ruled out

By Michael Slother - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Flames broke out at the Twin Oaks apartment complex just before noon on Thursday. The cause of that fire remains under investigation.

Fire investigators told us they think the fire started in the middle portion of the complex on the second floor. No cause had been determined as of late Thursday night. Lubbock Deputy Fire Marshal Robert Loveless said they hope to release that information on Friday. He said they don't believe the fire was intentional.

Crews left the scene just before 8 p.m. Thursday after a long day battling the flames.

"It's just scary looking at it thinking that could have been me in there but it still hurts to see everything you worked hard for it's down, it's burned up," said Kateri Manciaz. She lost everything in the blaze.

Manciaz and her boyfriend, John Collins were at their neighbors when they smelled smoke.

"It clicked in my head, there's smoke coming from outside. I open the door and there's nothing but smoke, so I run to my apartment and open the door and nothing but flames come out. I had 3 dogs in there," Collins said.

Loveless said crews responded around 11:45 Thursday morning. "Your first concern is life safety," Loveless continued. "You're not really worried about putting fire out as [much as] you are making sure everybody is out."

Smoke could be seen from all over the Hub City. The National Weather Service reported wind speeds between 15 and 25 miles per hour at the time.  "Wind was definitely a factor today. With the area being as dry as it is, this is how quickly a small fire can get out of hand," Loveless said.

Firefighters even got help from some of the people standing nearby. One man was seen grabbing the hose and pulling it towards the crews.

In the end, officials took on the flames and smoke for several hours. Tenants know they're lucky to be alive, but are still devastated that they can't get back what the fire took away. "I mean that's everything I worked for. It's gone, and there's nothing I can do about it," said Manciaz.

Investigators hope to announce the cause of the fire sometime on Friday.

If you would like to read more on how you can donate the victims of the fire: clickhere

©2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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