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16 Displaced By Southwest Austin Apartment Fire
Fire officials have ruled the cause of the fire accidental, believing a heating blanket sparked the fire in the bedroom. They say a woman getting ready for bed had plugged the heating blanket in, left the room, heard the smoke detector go off, and ran to alert neighbors, who then called 911. There were no injuries, and all residents evacuated safely.
The fire heavily damaged the third-floor unit, and smoke and water damaged two other units, causing about $300,000 in structural damage and $100,000 in damage to contents. The rest of the units belonging to those displaced lost electricity after the fire melted a line.
The Red Cross spokespeople tell us all sixteen people now have places to stay, most through friends and family, the rest through hotels. The agency is also helping with food and medicine.
Fire officials say some firefighters will remain on scene for several hours to make sure no hotspots flare up.
A two-alarm fire displaces more than a dozen people in southwest Austin. It happened at the Western Trails Apartments at 2422 Western Trails Boulevard, near the Westgate area. The fire broke out around 2:14 a.m. Monday at the independent senior living facility.
The Red Cross tells us 16 people have been displaced from 15 units, fire crews up in the third floor unit where the fire started, trying to piece together what sparked it. Officials say crews saw heavy flames and smoke when they got on scene but contained the fire to a third-story corner unit, knocking the fire down in 20 minutes. Officials say smoke and water damaged several other units in the wing.
Around 4:30 a.m., the displaced residents were in the complex’s community center, getting help from Red Cross volunteers, who tell us the facility is working on finding hotels, nearby family, and actively taking the lead to make sure residents have a safe place to stay. Red Cross officials tell us the fire department is going into as many apartments as possible to get residents’ medication, but the Red Cross can also provide prescriptions and replace health equipment.
Fire officials say they expect to stay on-scene until around dawn. Officials say weather was not a factor. They don’t know if smoke detectors went off.
By Adam Bennett