Grease fire leaves two dozen homeless at Arlington apartments

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by SHON GABLES

Bio | Email | Follow: @shongables

WFAA

Posted on September 1, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 1 at 9:41 PM

Apartment fire

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ARLINGTON — Outside in the sweltering heat Sunday morning, Freddie Robinson and his two sons looked in disgust at their charred apartment in the Brazos Park complex.

Losing their home in a fire was not how they had planned to spend Labor Day weekend.

"I was scared", said nine-year-old Chris.

He said he was watching TV around 9:30 a.m. as his dad cooked breakfast. Seconds later, a grease fire ignited and spread out of control at the apartment building in the 2000 block of Terlingua Lane.

Freddie Robinson said he tried to put it out. "I burned my arm trying to grab the skillet, but it was too hot and plastic falling out the ceiling."

Sheila Tijerina, who lives next door, said she had enough time to call 911 and scream "get out!"

"Honestly, if we waited any longer my husband probably wouldn't have gotten out," she said. "I wouldn't have gotten out with the kids. I am very lucky."

Another resident, Lacrece Mary, credits Arlington's Fire Department for limiting the damage to only six units.

"Kudos to them," she smiled. "They came pretty quickly."

But the firefighters' job was far from easy. Due to the extreme heat, 50 personnel were forced to work in 15-minute intervals.

If they weren't working to extinguish the fire on top of the roof of the two-story building, they were on the ground with cold towels in their faces.

Arlington Fire Department Battalion Chief Gerald Randall said if it had been a cooler day, this would have been the equivalent of a two-alarm assignment.

"The extra alarm was called solely to deal with the heat relief," he explained.

No one was injured, but 28 tenants were displaced.

Loren Smith was grateful for the help being provided by the American Red Cross.

"We have to find another place to live," she said while holding his sons. He's grateful they're all alive.

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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