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19 people displaced by Fort Worth apartment fire

FORT WORTH -- Nineteen people were displaced from four apartments in a complex near Hulen Mall on Friday evening by a fire that started in an attached laundry room, a fire official said.

The other 12 units in the building at the Hunter's Ridge complex, 4850 River Ranch Blvd., will be temporarily closed because the electrical system was badly damaged, said Lt. Kent Worley, a Fire Department spokesman.

Two units were damaged by fire, and two others had minor water damage, he said.

The fire started in a laundry room attached to the building and spread up an angled roof into an attic, Worley said.

Damage to the building was estimated at $380,000, he said.

The fire spread rapidly, said Gray Matlock, who lives in a building across from the burned units.

"In a matter of minutes, the flames were already spreading and getting up higher into the building," he said. "I started thinking, 'Where am I going to run to?'"

Russell Marcks, whose unit was heavily damaged by fire, said smoke filled his apartment quickly. He grabbed a laptop computer, his wallet and car keys before the heat grew too intense.

"In less than five minutes, the smoke was too thick to go back in," he said.

The displaced residents were moved to other apartments on the property and were being helped by the Red Cross.

As crews mopped up after the blaze, Matlock was philosophical.

"A few people were inconvenienced for a while," he said. "But at least no one was hurt. Things can be replaced."