One person was killed in an overnight fire at an apartment complex in Mesquite, firefighters say.
A Mesquite fire spokesman said crews were first called at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to a medical emergency inside a unit at the Country Club Apartments, located in the 1900 block of Pinehurst Lane.
First responders said they responded to an EMS distress call involving a man under cardiac arrest. After CPR was performed on the man, paramedics started to administer oxygen when something in the room ignited, said Mesquite fire spokesman Captain John Moore. He said paramedics saw a bright flash of light in the room before they felt the burning heat. In an updated press release issued Wednesday afternoon, fire officials confirmed the fire happened about 8 to 10 minutes into treatment.
The first responders, who weren't dressed in firefighting gear because they weren't expecting a fire, tried to bring the man to safety outside but were unable to, Moore said, due to heavy smoke and flames. The man's name has not been released.
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The fire spread through the attic to 24 other units before being extinguished, Moore said. 40 residents were affected by the fire.
Melissa Bowles lives on the first floor of the affected building with her son and their pets. They were asleep on Tuesday night when she said she heard her neighbor scream.
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"So, I ran outside. I asked her if she was okay. She let me know her father was inside, and we started to see smoke," Bowles said. "As far as I know she’s okay. I talked to her before we left last night. I hugged her, and we said our goodbyes. I told her she’s in my thoughts and prayers."
Bowles and her son have lived at the complex for about two years.
"By the time my son and I got our dog and we came across the street, we looked back and everything was on fire," Bowles said. "I was devastated. I had just already rebuilt my life from scratch. I know everything can be replaced but when you work so hard to replace your life and it’s gone in minutes, seconds, it’s devastating. I just, I cried. I hugged my son. I’m just glad we’re okay."
Small hotspots continued to burn throughout the early morning hours Wednesday. Fire crews remained on the scene well into Wednesday afternoon.
A firefighter was treated at a hospital for second-degree burns to his hand and has been released. No other injuries were reported.
The Red Cross, apartment management and city emergency management officials were at the scene helping the residents who were forced from their homes. They were relocated overnight to a temporary shelter.
A GoFundMe has been created by the apartment complex to assist residents.
Crews are still investigating exactly what caused the fire to ignite, Moore said.
Wednesday afternoon, apartments were being boarded up.
Because of collapsed floors and some walls barely standing, workers at the scene said no one who lived in the units affected were being allowed back inside.