According to investigators, one of the residents had turned on an electric heater and then heard a "whoosh."
"I was in this apartment," Russ Havard, one of the home's occupants, said. "It made a little spark, and that's when I heard the noise behind the vent right there."
He opened the closet, saw a wall of fire, and got the other resident out safely.
"And the flames were probably already up in the ceiling about a quarter of the way."
Havard had seconds to call 911 and search for occupants. He found none. However, he didn't know that a hearing-impaired tenant was asleep in one of the units, totally unaware of the blaze. Fortunately, a neighbor reminded him of the possibility.
"And that was exactly what was going on, and he was kinda coming out coughing when they knocked the door in," Havard said.
Firefighters were called to the scene around 8 p.m.
Investigators believe there may have been a gas leak behind the walls. Once the heater came on, it sparked the fire.
"There was raw gas coming out of the main pipe in that room going straight into the attic space, and it spread pretty quick through the attic," Del Birdwell, a fire marshal with the Nacogdoches Fire Department, said.
The deaf man's hearing aids burned. The graduate art student lost her original works. An out-of-town tenant had to ask a friend to look for a cherished memory of her recently deceased dad. There were losses, but everyone is safe and grateful.
"The firefighters were great and the neighbors were just incredible, so that's the main thing I want to say."
Thursday, August 28 2014 9:33 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:33:06 GMT
SPARTANBURG COUNT, SC (WYFF) - Fifteen children living in a double-wide trailer were put into protective custody and seven adults were arrested, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. DeputiesMore >>
Fifteen children living in a double-wide trailer were put into protective custody and seven adults were arrested, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.More >>
Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:01 PM EDT2014-08-28 03:01:35 GMT
Who wouldn't feel sorry for a man that stands in front of you, nearly in tears, and talks about how his wife died eight months ago during labor.More >>
Who wouldn't feel sorry for a man that stands in front of you, nearly in tears, and talks about how his wife died eight months ago during labor, his mother just died, and now he is a single father raising a newborn all alone.More >>
Thursday, August 28 2014 4:49 PM EDT2014-08-28 20:49:29 GMT
A Jackson police officer has been hospitalized after being attacked in south Jackson. The department says it happened last night, while he was making an arrest, at the intersection of Forest Hill RoadMore >>
A Jackson police officer has been hospitalized after being attacked in south Jackson. The department says it happened Wednesday night, while he was making an arrest at the intersection of Forest Hill Road and Raymond Road.More >>
Thursday, August 28 2014 1:26 PM EDT2014-08-28 17:26:05 GMT
This is a news release from the office of Judge Hollis McGehee Special Judge Hollis McGehee has scheduled a status conference and hearing for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, in the Circuit Court CourtroomMore >>
Special appointed Judge Hollis McGehee said he will file a scheduling order for the Chris McDaniel vs. Thad Cochran trial by the end of this week. More >>
Tuesday, August 26 2014 9:27 AM EDT2014-08-26 13:27:00 GMT
A Jackson Prep football player hospitalized following Friday night's game has died. Walker Wilbanks was transported Friday to the hospital during the second half of the school's home football game againstMore >>
Pressler says Walker's death was an "unfortunate freak event" revolving around the balance of sodium and water in the body. He says it had no reflection of being over or underhydrated.