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DALLAS -- Firefighters were trying to control a four-alarm apartment fire in east Dallas just north of LBJ Freewayon Skillman Street for hours Thursday evening.

There were several frightening moments as the blaze grew, not just for residents, but also for firefighters who at first tried to tackle the fire from the inside, and then quickly had to retreat because the fire began to burn out of control.

Dallas Fire-Rescue began working the fire at the Stone Ranch Apartments in the 9300 block of Skillman at about 4:45 p.m., when it was two alarms. Within minutes, the flames began showing on the outside of the structure as HD Chopper 8 hovered above and a third and fourth alarm were raised.

DFR spokesman Jason Evans said when crews arrived at the three-story building, they could see smoke coming from the third floor of Building Six of the complex, but it quickly spread once it reached the attic space.

'A raging inferno that seemed to have come out of nowhere' is how Dianna Hodgson described the fire that began to consume the apartment building near the one she lives in.

'It looked like it wasn't that bad, then all of a sudden, the flames just kind of came up,' Hodgson said.

As the fire escalated, firefighters cleared residents from the building and continued to fight the fire from the outside. Building Five of the complex was soon also evacuated.

Elizabeth Fuentes said she was asked to leave her apartment in Building Five.

'Oh my God! It was so bad,' Fuentes said. 'The cops came and and they were just kicking the door to make sure that nobody was there.'

'We heard a bunch of big booms and saw the fire kind of jump from the roof out,' Hodgson said.

Hours later, flames could still be seen coming from the roof, but firefighters had gained the upper hand.

There were no reports of injuries among the residents. Despite the massive size of the blaze, firefighters managed one tiny rescue, a cat who was wet but unharmed.

'Fortunately, none of those people were injured,' Evans said.

The fire was finally tapped out shortly after 9 p.m. according to Dallas Fire-Rescue.

One firefighter sustained a minor injury when some ceiling debris fell on him. He was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation, but is expected to be fine.

Fire investigators aren't allowed in the building at this time, but were interviewing residents to attempt to find the cause of the fire. As it stands now, the cause is undetermined, Evans said.

The Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster said crews are going to the scene to assist with those displaced by the fire.

Thirty-six residents were displaced from Building Six, while another 45 people were displaced from Building Five due to a lack of electricity and some fire damage.

Hodgson said she does not have renter's insurance, but would be looking into purchasing it soon.

'I've never been this close to a fire,' she said.

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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