Massive fire destroys four buildings along Alameda Avenue
POSTED: Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 3:38pm
UPDATED: Friday, May 24, 2013 - 4:17am
EL PASO, TX (KTSM) — A massive fire in South Central El Paso is finally out tonight, but not before it did a whole lot of damage. The blaze tore through one building after another. Hundreds gathered to watch as a part of their neighborhood was destroyed. The flames shot dozens of feet into the air and the smoke could be seen across the city, all of it coming from the Las Vegas Lounge on Alameda Street, one of this neighborhood's oldest businesses.
"Fire trucks over here. Fire trucks over there. I was like, oh, what happened?" said Marco Lopez.
The fire started shortly after four this afternoon. Crews quickly evacuated several apartments above the bar. The fire then took off, the firefighters no match for the three alarm blaze.
"We needed additional resources due to the heat. It puts a lot of demand on the firefighters and we needed to rotate them quite frequently," said David Rios with the El Paso Fire Department.
As more and more firefighters started to arrive, so did the spectators.
"I was actually fixing my air conditioning. That's how i saw it. I was on the top of my roof and actually got to see it," said George Perez who lives two blocks away.
George Perez and his neighbors were among the hundreds that gathered to watch. Within an hour, the fire had spread to an auto body shop next door. Several flammable canisters inside escalated the concerns, and the fire kept on spreading to a vacant building full of storage, and another apartment building next door.
"It's getting worse it looks like. It's getting a lot worse," said Perez.
Crews tapped into one fire hydrant after another doing every thing they could to calm the blaze. By the time all was said and done, four buildings were destroyed, and a fifth suffered extensive water damage, making this El Paso's largest structure fire so far this year.
The Red Cross is assisting those impacted by the fire. The entire block was evacuated. Sixteen people were evacuated from nearby apartment units and across the street. They were allowed back into their homes tonight.