Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Sirens, flashing lights and fire trucks cause excitement in River Oaks as condo trash pile goes up in smoke

Fire trucks stir River Oaks as condo trash pile goes up in smoke

News, Shelby, The River Oaks on fire, July 2015
A fire in a trash bin at The River Oaks causes a mighty stir in the River Oaks neighborhood. Photo by Kathryn Rabinow
News, Shelby, The River Oaks on fire, July 2015
A neighbor shot this close up of the smoke. Photo by Kathryn Rabinow
News, Shelby, The River Oaks condos, June 2015
The River Oaks condo renovation expected to be completed in early 2017. Rendering courtesy of The River Oaks
News, Shelby, The River Oaks condos, June 2015
Certain units in The River Oaks will have great downtown views. Rendering courtesy of The River Oaks
News, Shelby, The River Oaks condos, June 2015
A rendering of one of the $10 million penthouses at The River Oaks. Rendering courtesy of The River Oaks
News, Shelby, The River Oaks on fire, July 2015
News, Shelby, The River Oaks on fire, July 2015
News, Shelby, The River Oaks condos, June 2015
News, Shelby, The River Oaks condos, June 2015
News, Shelby, The River Oaks condos, June 2015

Call us ambulance chasers, if you must. But with most of River Oaks standing on its ear with the roar of sirens and a blast of flashing red lights Wednesday morning, inquiring minds want to know what's up. What's up was a burning pile of trash at The River Oaks condo renovation project on Westheimer.

While that is small potatoes in the world of "breaking news," the hullabaloo and traffic snarl caused by the fire trucks speeding down Westheimer was no minor commotion. Nearby resident,  accomplished photographer and CultureMap friend Kathryn Rabinow, snapped the smoky images from her 12th floor apartment at Inwood Manor.

She emailed CultureMap, "I heard many fire engines around 8 this morning so I went out on my balcony and took these two photos of what I assume to be a fire at the old River Oaks building that is on Westheimer near Claremont that is being turned into condos."

The Houston Fire Department reports that there was fire and water damage on the third floor of the $100 million project. The first alarm was called in at 7:54 a.m. and a second at 8:04.

According to the report, "Traffic will be congested in the area of Westheimer and Buffalo Speedway for several hours . . . This fire was declared under control at 8:40 a.m."

A spokeswoman for the property confirmed, "There were workers on site who noticed smoke and immediately contacted the fire department. It was a small trash fire and was taken care of in a matter of minutes."