Runaway Bay residents pick up pieces after fire

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by DEBBIE DENMON / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on December 20, 2009 at 11:21 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 21 at 2:08 PM

RUNAWAY BAY ― A skeleton of a building is all that remains after a fire ripped through a Wise County townhouse community.  

Firefighters from Runaway Bay had a serious problem on their hands Saturday when they ran out of water. More than two dozen people lost everything, and those residents still aren't allowed to search the rubble.

Not much is left at the Shoreside Terrace Townhomes in Wise County after a five alarm fire destroyed nine units and all the belongings of its 27 residents. Former Fire Marshall Mike Bement thought his home would have a chance since the fire was moving slowly.

"It took quite a while for it to get down here, but they had water trouble out in back getting water pressure," he said.

Authorities confirmed it took 15 fire departments in three counties to shuttle water from a nearby lake to extinguish the flames.

Bement got his wife and two Chihuahuas out of his townhome safely, but a News 8 photographer videotaped someone else's dogs trapped in the debris.

"I got mad because they stopped us from going in, but he was probably right," Bement said.

Authorities feared any wall standing could collapse in the 40-year-old building. Many residents had to watch wrapped gifts for Christmas go up in smoke, as well as other personal items.

"One thing, I lost my teeth in there,” Bement said. “I just had them made over in Fort Worth, and I had 'em in a deal soaking, and they're gone."

The flames were not far from city hall, yet no one could do anything to prevent residents from losing their homes around the holidays.

"Well, it made it bad,” Bement said. “This is a bad time, period."

At least the dogs trapped inside the burned out complex finally figured how to get out which has to account for something to pet owners who lost everything else.

The Red Cross is helping the displaced families. The exact cause of the fire is under investigation.

E-mail ddenmon@wfaa.com

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