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This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation



Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 00:59 GMT
Crews battle Texas high-rise fire

At least 75 firefighters battled flames to save 250 elderly people after a fire broke out at a retirement complex in the US city of Houston, Texas.

US television footage showed flames and smoke pouring from the sixth floor of the eight-storey building.

Officials said 12 people were rescued from the fire using ladder trucks and three people were taken to hospital.

There has been no word on the cause of the fire which broke out about 1000 (1600 GMT) and was put out in one hour.

Firefighters went through the 210-unit building and helped other residents leave via the stairwells and ground floor exits.

Many of the building's residents waited outside in their pyjamas as firefighters doused the flames.

"We're making plans on accommodating them this evening and for the near future in accommodations that we own," said Steve Mikelman of the Houston Housing Authority, the building's operator.

The Bellerive Senior High Rise is located in the 7200-block of Bellerive, in the south-western part of the city.

It provides public housing for low-income elderly residents who do not need care.

City officials said the building met fire and structural safety codes.