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Houston Volunteer Lawyers Dealt Setback by Office Fire

Posted: 09-08-10Category:

building fireA Houston Volunteer Lawyers Group which helps people who cannot afford attorneys was dealt a setback on Monday when its offices burned in a fire which occurred on Labor Day evening. Houston Fire Department arson investigators are currently trying to determine the cause of Monday night's fire at the J.P. Morgan Chase Building. The 36-story high rise building caught fire on the 27th floor at approximately 8 p.m Monday. The call went to 4 alarms as the fire department had trouble getting water to the flames. A water pipe inside the building broke, requiring firefighters to pump in the water from the street. It took 2 1/2 hours to get the fire tapped out. In the process, six firefighters suffered from smoke inhalation and were taken to an area hospital for treatment. The fire department says it was successful in keeping fire damage to the 27th floor, but water and smoke damaged is still being assessed. "It's very devastating to hear," said David Mandell, who is the executive director of the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program, an arm of the Houston Bar Association. HVLP was the only tenant on the 27th floor. "We have 43 very dedicated and passionate employees and they are very effected by this tragedy," said Mandell. "We're just concerned about the clients we serve and making sure we're trying on get back on line to conduct legal services for the poor." Mandell said none of his employees were working Monday night at the time of the fire. He has no idea what could have caused it. He said he was told that the area that actually burned was 250 square feet, but that the entire floor was impacted by smoke and water damage.

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