Fire In Houston Office Building Kills 3 And Injures At Least 6

Wednesday, March 28th 2007, 8:32 pm
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) _ Fire broke out in a six-story office building Wednesday, killing three people and injuring at least six as those inside climbed down to safety on ladders, fire officials said.

Flames shot out of the building's top floors and heavy smoke blanketed a nearby 10-lane freeway during the evening rush hour.

Television footage showed flames breaking through glass and fire personnel guiding people down ladders.

Firefighters found the three bodies on the building's fifth floor, District Fire Chief T.J. Dowdy said. Three firefighters were among the injured.

Roy Anderson and Larry Gill, who work at Rail Crew Express on the sixth floor, said they were outside when they heard an explosion and then glass shattering.

They said they called authorities while a person driving by ran into the building and pulled the fire alarm. Before then, alarms hadn't sounded and the sprinklers hadn't gone off, they said.

Jim Jimenez, owner of J Systems on the fourth floor, said he was in the atrium when he smelled smoke and then saw the fire. He left and saw the fire raging as he looked back, Jimenez said.

``It looked like the entire suite was on fire. It just took seconds,'' he said.

There was no word yet on what started the blaze, but the fire was contained to the fifth and sixth floors, Dowdy said.

The injured were believed to have suffered from smoke inhalation, Dowdy said.

An engineering firm and several medical clinics are listed as tenants.

Boxer Property Management Corp., which manages the building, declined to comment.

Built in the early 1980s, the masonry and glass building is about 58,000 square feet. It is on the 610 Loop, a busy highway.