Heavy fire forces clo­sure of high­way

Fires

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Con­tin­ued from B Howtohelp For­est North Ele­men­tary School, Con­tact Jazmine Ul­loa at 445-3763. Twit­ter: @ jazmineul­loa Austin Dis­as­ter Re­lief Net­work, Amer­i­can Red Cross of Cen­tral Texas,

next to the home that was de­stroyed, said she called 911 af­ter she and her hus­band were awak­ened by their dog.

“The fire was blow­ing, and flames were coming from the top of the house,” she said. “One guy was pound­ing on the door, say­ing, ‘There’s some­one in there.’ I kept telling (the op­er­a­tor), ‘Hurry, hurry.’ ”

A two-alarm fire that broke out about 3:30 a.m. at a North­west Austin apart­ment com­plex dis­placed dozens of res­i­dents as three apart­ment build­ings were dam­aged and other struc­tures threat­ened, of­fi­cials said.

All of the peo­ple evac­u­ated from the fire at the In­ter­na­tional Res­i­dences Apart­ments in the 9800 block of Cop­per Creek Drive near U.S. 183 had been ac­counted for Thurs­day af­ter­noon, said John Fos­ter, a spokesman for the Wil­liamson County sher­iff’s of­fice. Ear­lier in the day, there were 24 peo­ple whose lo­ca­tions had not been de­ter­mined.

“It’s a to­tal mir­a­cle that there were no fa­tal­i­ties,” Fos­ter said. He said he didn’t know the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple evac­u­ated. The cause of the fire has not been de­ter­mined but it is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the state fire mar­shal’s of­fice, a Wil­liamson County fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion team and the sher­iff’s of­fice, Fos­ter said.

Fos­ter said he also has re­quested as­sis­tance on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion from the fed­eral Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives be­cause of the mag­ni­tude of the fire. An es­ti­mate of the dam­age has not been de­ter­mined, he said.

A third heavy fire was re­ported shortly be­fore 5 a.m. at the 6500 block of Ed Bluestein Boule­vard near Loy­ola Lane in North­east Austin. The flames spread to 3 acres within 30 min­utes and forced the clo­sure of the high­way in all di­rec­tions, emer­gency of­fi­cials said.

The high winds also downed power lines, knock­ing out power in some neigh­bor­hoods. A peak of about 4,000 Austin En­ergy cus­tomers were out of power about 4 a.m., though most had their power re­stored within the hour, Austin En­ergy of­fi­cials said.

Fore­cast­ers say the winds died down by Thurs­day af­ter­noon and that the fire dan­ger has de­creased.

13414 Broad­meade Ave., is ac­cept­ing do­na­tions of cloth­ing and shoes for chil­dren and adults in all sizes, as well as non­per­ish­able food and house­hold items, such as toys and blan­kets, from 8 a.m. to noon Fri­day. Mon­e­tary do­na­tions may be made to the For­est North PTA, http://forest­north.my-pta.org.

331-2600 and www. austindis­as­ter­re­liefnet­work.org

and www.red­cross.org/tx/austin

928-4271

ALBERTO MARTÍNEZ / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Smol­der­ing rub­ble is all that re­mains of sev­eral apart­ment units Thurs­day at the In­ter­na­tional Res­i­dence Apart­ments in North­west Austin.

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