FORTWORTH -- Wednesday morning began with some scary moments for firefighters and residents of an East Fort Worth apartment building, some who had to jump out of windows to escape flames.

As smoke and flames engulfed his apartment, gazing out of a second floor window, Morrell Bouligny made a split-second decision.

'I was praying during the entire thing,' he said. 'I'm glad we are still here because it could have been a lot worse.'

Bouligny said he is usually a deep sleeper, but a painful toothache kept waking him up.The last time he woke up, he smelled smoke and saw flames at his bedroom door. He rushed to wake up a friend who was staying with him.

'We had to come to the bedroom window and I held her and let her go,' said Bouligny.'Then I went right behind her. I had to jump out myself because the fire by that time was in the bedroom. Smoke everywhere!'

Bouligny had just cuts and scratches, but his friend was taken to the hospital with a back injury. When firefighters arrived at the La Jolla Terrace Apartments, located at 1309 Alexis Avenue,an entire building was engulfed in flames.

Firefighters were at first concerned that someone might be trapped inside and went into the building, but intense heat soon forced them to retreat and fight the fire from the outside.

In all five people were hurt, but no one seriously. One woman had a minor burn. Others wereinjured trying to get out of the building -- mostly cuts, scrapes and smoke inhalation.

It's unclear if the building had working smoke detectors and investigators are looking into that as well as the cause.

Three buildings suffered either smoke, water or fire damage. Twenty-four units were destroyed.

The Red Cross assistedat least 35 people who lost their homesand escaped the fire with nothing more than their night clothes.


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