HFD: Massive fire burns through three Montrose businesses, threatens occupied residence

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HOUSTON — A massive fire reached at least four buildings in the Montrose area early Thursday including two wood-framed houses that had been converted into businesses and an occupied residence, the Houston Fire Department said.

Firefighters responded to a burning commercial building in the 1700 block of Westheimer Road near Parker Street at 2 a.m.

"It appeared to be a vacant building," HFD Deputy Chief Blake White said.

Investigators said the first building was engulfed in flames, which spread to two other structures behind it and a second business at its left.

"We were coming home, and it looked like smoke when we pulled up to this intersection. And then literally in a matter of 30 seconds, when we went around, [the building] totally engulfed in flames," neighbor Matt Garrison said.

Residents living in an adjacent two-story building were able to self evacuate. No injuries were reported.

"At one point were were worried about four building, but we kept it contained," White said. "The fourth, which was actually an occupancy house, had minor damage to the building, but it was pretty much just contained to those [first] three buildings."

The other three buildings were vacant, firefighters said.

HFD officials said fire crews faced numerous challenges such as narrow streets, the buildings being close together and nearby power lines. White said about 80 firefighters were at the scene.

In the end, it took firefighters about an hour to extinguish the fire.

"It's unknown as far as the cause of the fire. Arson should be on the scene," White added.

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