Late Thursday house fire burns in South Longview

UPDATE: This fire that occurred Thursday night at 128 Myrle Avenue, everything here is completely destroyed. But the residents that did live here and their dog are all thankful to be alive this Friday afternoon.

"When you lose everything you've got, it's hard to put it in words," said Jesse Pilcher. Just before 11 o'clock Thursday night when she smelled smoke. She quickly woke up her roommate, Brian Hewitt.

"I ran and grabbed the stuff I could get, my phone,my clothes, and I called 911," Hewitt said.

The fire originated in the vacant side of this two-apartment duplex. Neighbors also noticed the flames and tried to help.

"My old man said, 'I see smoke!' And I looked out my kitchen window, and I seen a big blaze," Hewitt. "And I was trying to get my fire extinguisher down. I couldn't get it out of my hallway."

Firefighters responded within minutes and stayed on the scene more than two hours.

Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary says the fire is a wake-up call to all East Texans: plan ahead for a fire, and never put property over life.

"Obviously, you want to get your belongings if you're house is on fire. But even if you've gone to bed, you only have seconds to get out," Zackary said.

Starting Monday, the Longview Fire Department is observing fire prevention week by urging East Texans to have two ways out of their home in case of a fire. Zackary recommends making a map of your home, checking every door and window for sure access to the outside, and choosing an outside meeting place in front of your home.

He says keep that escape plan on your refrigerator, and make sure your smoke detectors are working.



LONGVIEW/GREGG COUNTY (KYTX) - A late Thursday fire at a duplex in the 100 block of Myrle Avenue in Longview left two people homeless, at least for the night.

Brad Hewitt and Jesse Pilcher said they were home in one apartment of the duplex when Hewitt thought he smelled smoke. He stepped onto the porch and saw smoke and flames shooting from the other apartment, which was vacant. Hewitt and Pilcher, along with Pilcher's Chihuahua dog Toby, fled their apartment safely.

About two dozen Longview firefighters were on the scene moments ago dousing the flames, while a fire marshal was taking pictures of the property and structure. Hewitt said he noticed that power lines connected to the vacant apartment were disconnected this evening when he returned home from work, but said the vacant apartment had no running electricity.

A sign in the front yard said local property owner Joe Collier was trying to find a tenant for the apartment.

Hewitt, a Longview Transit and Red Lobster employee, said both he and Pilcher had family who were headed to the scene and would probably provide shelter for the couple this morning.

KYTX CBS 19 will have more information as it becomes available.


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