By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - Andrews Highway in Midland was back open Friday night after a major apartment fire burned through a roof. Parts of McDonald remain blocked off after the blaze.
Now some tenants at the Cypress Pointe Apartments are looking for a place to live and wondering what will happen after smoke and fire has left their homes severely damaged.
Midland firefighters said there were no major injuries in the blaze that started around 4:30 Friday afternoon.
The fire happened in the 3600 block of Andrews Highway between Midland Drive and Midkiff. Police ended up diverting traffic on the street for almost two hours.
"We just saw the black smoke and we came running out to see what was going on, and there was a little boy over by that tree and the tree was on fire, and we all started running towards the doors getting everybody out," Gayle Woodruff, the Director of Step-by-Step Daycare in Midland, said.
Smoke covered the intersection of Andrews Highway and McDonald Friday evening. A scary sight for many residents and neighbors just getting home from work. But before firefighters could begin to evacuate homes, many were already taking action.
"Just get things done. Get the children and get them safe, and get my center, I got all my children onto the backside of the building and get people out of there if we needed to," Woodruff explained.
Crews managed to put out most of the fire in under an hour. No injuries except one firefighter with minor burns. Investigators said two children under the age of ten were playing with fire when they burned a nearby tree. That blaze spread right into the attic.
"I was just about to get my coat out and I started smelling smoke, I went looking to the vent, checked the gas, everything, I didn't see anything," Samuel Ndinjiakat, a tenant at Cypress Pointe, explained. "As I looked through the window a little boy just came and hit my door saying 'Get out of here,' so when I got out I saw every place was in flames."
Ndinjiakat could only watch as firefighters put out the blaze right above his apartment. Originally from Cameroon, he said he's studying for his masters in Midland, but with nearly everything he owns damaged in the fire, he's not sure what will happen now.
"I don't know. I mean it's been very very difficult for us, being in school for 15 months, and I've been living on loans," Ndinjiakat said. "That's all I've been living on for 15 months. Three kids and a wife, it's going to be a very tough from here on."
But as devastating as it was for residents, some said it could have been much worse.
"So I first of all thank God that I am alive," Ndinjiakat added. "If it had happened last week when I was still in the middle of my exam, it would have been more terrible than now."