KILLEEN– At least two people are displaced, and there are no injuries after a Killeen apartment caught fire around 11:50 a.m. on Harris Avenue, according to the Killeen Fire Department.
Officials say when crews arrived on scene they found the first floor center unit fully engulfed, and the fire was traveling up to the second floor unit.
“Thank God I’m OK, thank God everyone else is OK, and no one else got hurt,” apartment resident Brendon Virnala said. “And thank God my drip is OK.”
The fire marshal’s office has determined the cause of the fire to be accidental caused by human error.
“The fire seems like it was improperly discarded smoking materials or improperly used smoking materials,” Killeen fire chief James Kubinski said.
One apartment resident who lives above the unit where the fire happened said he was asleep, then came outside to see what was going on.
“There was fire all up there, I didn’t know which way to go,” Virnala said. “The police was yelling at me to jump off the side, so I jumped off, scraped my arm as you can see.”
Multiple apartment residents say a man was smoking in his unit when the fire happened.
“We’re here with the guy who actually caused this mess right here,” Virnala said. “He was smoking crack or something downstairs, I don’t know what it was. But it’s alright, you gotta forgive people.”
Another apartment resident says he heard a boom and saw the apartment across from him on fire.
“I was up in the crib, heard a boom, thought my door got kicked in, came outside, it was Hitler, house on fire,” an apartment resident said.
The Code Enforcement Official deemed two units uninhabitable, and the Emergency Management Division is working on finding temporary placement for them.
Kubinski says whenever you are dealing with a flame, be careful.
“Whenever there’s any source of a flame that you are using, whether it be a candle, a furnace inside of your house, a hot water heater or if it is smoking materials, the most important thing is that you are extremely careful with those and ensure that they’re completely extinguished before moving on with whatever the next task of the day is.”