Massive fire destroys 16 apartments; 1 fatality

Daylight hours reveal the extent of the devastation

NORTHEAST HOUSTON – Fire broke out at the Royale de Ville apartments last Friday morning, about 4 a.m., and destroyed 16 apartments, took the life of one man tentatively identified as Marcos Ovalle, 46, displaced 24 families, and destroyed five nearby autos.

The two alarm fire was battled valiantly by Aldine Fire and Rescue department late into the morning. Royale de Ville apartments are on Richcrest Drive near Imperial Valley Drive in the Greenspoint area.

Investigators and residents said that the fire appeared to start in the first floor unit at the center of the building, and spread upward to the second floor and roof.

Authorities have not determined the cause of the fire. Ovalle lived in the unit where the fire seemed to start, with another person who escaped the fire. The Harris County fire marshal is investigating.

Aldine Fire Chief Jackie Metcalfe said that when his department arrived, flames were already shooting through the roof, and they called for more men and equipment to help.

Firement could be seen near the flames, conducting a search and rescue of residents.

Residents expressed appreciation to the American Red Cross, who arrived early that morning, and provided temporary shelter, clothing, shoes, and food to displaced persons from the apartments.