UPDATE: July 21, 7:30 p.m.
Community members and church leaders held a vigil July 21 for the victims of the fire.
The Rev. Joshua Sutherlun from Westover Baptist Church and Senior Pastor Jeffrey Latham of First Presbyterian Church led the prayers.
Westover Baptist Church has become a resource center for governmental agencies to work and for those affected by the fire to be fed and comforted. Latham, chaplain for the San Marcos Police Department and Texas State alumni, said Westover Baptist Church has seen a flux of residents showing up after losing everything in the fire.
“There were people literally showing up today saying, ‘I don’t even know where to begin,'” Latham said. “Our prayer is for those five missing to show up in a jeep from Colorado and go, ‘Man, what just happened.'”
For about an hour, around 45 attendees rotated between praying and singing a refrain, or a repetitive line of words placed to music. The prayers focused on the safe return of the five individuals still missing and a generous recovery for the 200 displaced residents affected by the fire.
An early-morning apartment complex fire July 20 left at least seven residents injured and hundreds displaced.
A fire broke out around 4:30 a.m. at Iconic Village Apartments and Vintage Pads Apartments off North LBJ Drive and is still being settled by firefighters as of 7:00 p.m., according to Trey Hatt, communications specialist for the City of San Marcos.
The fire had significant damage to multiple apartment buildings, with at least one being fully engulfed this morning. Currently, it has been reduced to smolder.
Matthew Smith, an Iconic Village resident at the displacement center, was in the process of moving out when the fire destroyed all of his belongings in his apartment. Smith had already signed to another apartment and will have a place to stay.
“I was asleep and woke up to a smokey smell coming into the apartment,” Smith said. “I opened the door and saw the fire engulfing the building. I yelled to my roommates we gotta get out of here. I didn’t have time to get anything, not even my keys, wallet or shoes.”
Seven residents have reported injuries so far, with one resident being treated for critical injuries at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, according to a City of San Marcos press release. The other six faced non-life-threatening injuries, with two receiving care as of 7:00 p.m. and four already discharged.
Eyewitness accounts and social media posts claim that residents resorted to jumping out of their windows to escape, leading to further injuries.
Five residents are still unaccounted for: James Miranda, Haley Frizzell, Belinda Moats, David Ortiz, Dru Estes. Anyone with information on these individuals should contact the information hotline developed by city officials at 512.754.2291.
The San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins St., has been established as a shelter with the Red Cross for people displaced by the fire
The Red Cross and Central Texas Medical Center supported the relief endeavors by creating a displacement center with the City of San Marcos at the San Marcos Activity Center at 501 E. Hopkins St.
The center saw a handful of residents come in, with none requesting overnight shelter. The center will resume normal operations come July 21.
Several residents impacted by the fire have been confirmed as Texas State students and are eligible for aid from the university. Students in need of resources, funds or counseling can contact the Student Emergency Services in the Dean of Students office.
Kealie Prince, social work major, said she woke up to see the fire out of her Building 200 window.
“My dog woke me up around 5:00 a.m. and I looked out the window and across the pool, the building was completely engulfed in flames,” Prince said. “It’s one of those things you don’t think would ever happen to you.”
As of now, no cause has been determined. Hatt said once the firefighting operations are complete, the City of San Marcos Fire Marshal’s office will begin an investigation in conjunction with the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
News reporters Chris Green and Geoff Sloan contributed to this story.
The University Star will continue to update this story as it develops.