Fire damages several cars in UH parking garage

HOUSTON - University of Houston was a hot bed of activity Thursday afternoon after a fire erupted in the east parking garage. What started as a fire involving two cars on the third floor just before 1 p.m. quickly spread to several more vehicles.

"When I walked out of class, I was trying to go to my car, and there was a bunch of black smoke coming out of the garage," said UH student Karishma Dawood.

Houston firefighters jumped into action and had the fire tapped out by about 1:45 p.m. The smoke and flames left a black smudge on the exterior of the garage. No students were hurt, but there was an issue with one firefighter.

"We had one firefighter that, between the exhaustion and fighting the fire, he's going to be transported to one of the local hospitals," said Deputy Chief Herman Gonzales.

Arson investigators are on the scene trying to figure out the cause, and unfortunately, it may be a while before students can retrieve their cars.

"It's a matter of letting firefighters go in there and conduct their investigation, and then for structural engineers to go in there as well and then deem the garage to be safe so people can then enter it," said Mike Rosen, executive director of media relations for UH.

Students with permits for the garage will just have to park it until they get official word from the parking and transportation division.