Fire Burns Through Biloxi Apartment Complex

Sirens and screams blared through College Heights apartments. The sounds forced one residents to jump out of bed. The next thing she noticed was smoke in her apartment. The smoke came from a raging fire in a downstairs unit.

Residents ran out of their apartments and watched the flames grow. One man said, "We just heard somebody yelling. And I ran outside and smelled the smoke."

The fire quickly spread through the two floor building and out the attic.

As a Biloxi fireman took a break from the battle, he described the intensity of the fight. "It was hot. A lot of smoke. A lot of heat," he said. "I couldn't see hardly anything."

A Biloxi police officer ignored the billowing black smoke. He knocked on doors and saved several residents. "Get up. Get out. Now," the officer could be heard screaming. The residents walked out barefoot, leaving everything they owned in the burning building.

Moments later, a panic swept through the fire scene. Biloxi's assistant fire chief yelled to his troops, "I'm told we've got somebody in one of the apartments right here." Firemen quickly broke down doors and searched for the missing man.

It turns out Debra Robertson helped pull the man to safety before firemen arrived. She sat in a car, and relived the moment. "I don't even know how I picked that man up," she said. "He's paralyzed. But I did it. And I don't know, I just thank God for doing it. But he gave me the strength to get him out."

For more than an hour, 25 Biloxi firemen battled the Debuys Road apartment fire. Somehow, through the searing flames and the thick smoke, they saved a little puppy.

The puppy was a tiny ray of hope from a fire that burned eight apartments, and left 16 families without a place to stay.

To help residents out, the company that runs College Heights Apartments has set up a special fire fund. Donations can be made at any Hancock Bank.