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Early AM Blaze in Texas Kills Five

October 10, 2000

LAKE JACKSON, Texas (AP) _ A fire in an apartment complex killed five people early Tuesday, including three teens and a 1-year-old boy.

A woman was seen holding the child near a second-floor window but firefighters could not reach her because of the intense flames, said Assistant Fire Chief Scott Matthews.

``She was yelling for help and police officers were trying to calm her down. There was nothing we could do,″ Matthews said.

It took about five hours for firefighters to extinguish the blaze at the Woodhollow Apartments. Nine of the complex’s 178 units were destroyed, according to police in the town about 60 miles south of Houston.

Besides the infant, the victims were 18-year-old twin brothers, the 18-year-old wife of one of the brothers, and a 50-year-old man, said Police Chief Paul Hromadka. The baby was believed to be the child of the couple.

A woman found in another apartment was in intensive care at Brazosport Memorial Hospital, Matthews said.

The cause was under investigation but it appeared to be accidental, said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the state fire marshal’s office.

Resident Anna Perez, 22, was awakened by a neighbor pounding on her door.

``I was having trouble breathing. The smoke just blew in when I opened my door,″ Perez said. ``I could hardly see.″

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