CONROE- Conroe firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire around 4:30 p.m. at the Redford Park Apartments located at 808 Gladstell off of I-45. They arrived to find smoke visible.They entered an apartment and inside found the fire had extended into the attic and a second alarm was called, brining Needham and River Plantation Fire Departments to the scene. By the time the other departments arrived, the fire was coming through the roof of one apartment.
Jeff Williams, with the Conroe Fire Marshal’s Office, said the fire was started when a plumber was sweating pipes and some of the paper on the insulation in the wall ignited. The fire then traveled upward, into the attic.
Keith Kollaja, who lived in the complex only long enough to pay one month’s rent, began to smell smoke while he was lying down. He went outside where a maintenance worker told him the building was on fire, so he ran back in, grabbed some of his things and got out. While watching firefighters work, Kollaja said he was really only worried about one irreplaceable item, which was a desk that belonged to his grandfather. Kollaja later learned that firefighters saved the desk by covering it before water could damage it.
Another resident, Penny Buchanan, was concerned about her cats. Firefighters found one of them as they started to clean up. Hidey, the cat who always hides, was easily rescued. However, the second cat, Roxi hid beneath a bed and refused to come out.
Buchanan, who works for the Montgomery County Hospital District, was on her way in from work when she saw an ambulance going into the complex. She decided to go the opposite way to get to her apartment and was met by a fire truck.
Buchanan had insurance, so her cats were her biggest concern and they both survived.
A total of eight apartments were damaged, Williams said. Two appeared to have fire damage and the rest were damaged by smoke and/or water.