A 4-alarm fire killed two people, displaced more than 100 and injured several others Saturday morning in Cockrell Hill.
Just after 6 a.m., Cockrell Hill firefighters were called to the La Villa Roma Apartments on the 3700 block of Higgins Avenue. Upon arrival, firefighters began battling the fire while searching for residents, though the fire caused them to quickly take up a defensive position outside.
"I heard a whole bunch of crackling," said apartment resident Norman Headington. "I got up and ran to the front and opened the door and there was flames roaring along the walkways outside my door."
Many of the residents occupying 42 units of the 48 unit building said they're lucky to be alive to share their morning of terror.
Headington has been through this before. He was only living in the apartment complex because a year ago his home burned down.
"Somebody burned me out of my house over there about 300 feet which is now a vacant lot," said Headington.
Dallas firefighters arrived a short time later to help squelch the fire.
The fire destroyed all 32 units in the apartment building, displacing approximately 130 people and hospitalizing seven residents with injuries ranging from burns to fractures.
The Red Cross is assisting those displaced by the fire and has set up a shelter at Anson Jones Elementary for those who need assistance.
"We had 7 people that had to go to the hospital. Reasons for jumping out of the windows, broken legs, cuts and bruises," said Dallas County Fire Marshall Robert De Los Santos. "Its been confirmed we had two fatalities at this point right now."
Crews found a woman and a child dead inside the apartment building-- a loss further accentuated by a bulldozer called out by fire crews to tear the building down, piece by piece.
"There's just no good fire to have. But this one, you know, ranks right up there with one of the most devastating we've responded to in recent memory," said Anita Foster with the American Red Cross. "We've dispatched two teams just to the apartment building and another team to open a shelter. And its a needed shelter."
About 75 residents took advantage of the Red Cross' shelter by Saturday afternoon, but volunteers say they expect more throughout the weekend. Residents won't be allowed back to the scene of the fire until fire crews can secure that area.
Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire, but did say that it started in the rear of the building.