Lambie Lane Apartments cooking fire affects 10 families

Saturday's fire at the apartment complex off of South Western sent four people to the hospital, two of which were critical.

The fire originated from the kitchen: a cooking fire. Police have not confirmed it, but it is thought the stove was left unattended with food cooking on it when the tenant fell asleep on the couch.

The fire department did confirm the apartment originally had a smoke detector, but it had been removed. In turn, both the tenant's reaction and the fire department's arrival were delayed.

"I think he was awake," Lambie Lane Apartments Manager Stephanie James said. "But he had slept so long into it that he was disoriented or whatever because they had to actually help him out of the apartments. They almost dragged him out."

The American Red Cross was called to assist the victims.

"The first Disaster Action Team got there just a little after one o'clock and worked with three of the families," Emergency Services Field Specialist Martha Riddlespurger stated. "And that was with food and clothing- immediate needs so they would have something to change into."

James has managed the apartment complex for 22 years. She said there have been a few small grease fires in the past, but nothing like this. Her assistant manager contacted her when the fire broke out and she rushed to the complex to help her tenants.

"Most of them were already in my office or in the clubroom there and a little distraught and worried and stuff like that," she said. "So I wanted to assure them that we were going to take care of them, that we would put them in a vacant apartment, help them out in any way that we could."

Twelve apartment units were affected, two of which were vacant. James said she was amazed there wasn't more damage due to the severity of the fire. The unit where the fire started will have to be completely restored.

James also said one of the victims in critical condition sustained injuries when he went into the burning apartment to pull the sleeping man out. One of the victims was airlifted to Lubbock.

Police have not released the names of the victims.