The fast moving fire ripped through a pair of buildings and a laundry room of the Savannah City View Apartments near Greens Road in North Houston.
Joyce Newsome was preparing a meal for her daughter Shaquita and other family members when went to use the bathroom.
“The bottom of the aisle just blew, flipped the whole pot of grease over, and then the microwave blew. The stuff was blowing up, little by little.”
PH: “And before we knew it, it was out of hand?”
Newsome: “10 seconds later. I couldn’t get to my room. The only room I could get to was my kid’s room that was by the door.”
All told 80-firefighters from several area departments battled the fire that went to 2-alarms.
Bishop Shelton Bady of the Harvest Time Church, located next to the apartments, says he offered his church as a refuge to the residents.
“We noticed that people were outside in the heat, so we said, ‘Let’s open up our community center for people to go somewhere and sit down and drink some water. And we opened up our front lobby areas for the apartment complex team to go ahead and do processing. We were ones that were facilitating for the American Red Cross.”
Tim Kidwell is the regional emergency services director for the American Red Cross. He says the displaced families were initially provided with a debit card to be used to purchase essentials that will aid in their recovery as soon as possible.
“We can give them one week’s worth of food on a client assistance card. We’re gonna give them enough money for a change of clothes, you know the immediate needs. Long term, we can make a referral to some of the thrift shops and pantries in the community that can provide them with either clothing or food, and take care of those long term needs.”
Shaquita Newsome says she appreciates the help that came quickly after they lost everything.
“We wouldn’t have no pampers or milk for my kids right now.”
The investigation into the fire continues.