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