AUSTIN (KXAN) - More than a dozen people are without a home Friday morning after a quick-moving fire that spread through a South Austin apartment complex -- all sparked by a discarded cigarette.
The blaze broke out around 10:15 p.m. at an apartment complex in the 2200 block of Willow Creek Drive, which is just off East Oltorf Street.
When firefighters arrived at the complex, there was heavy fire coming from the apartment building.
And firefighters weren't the only ones coming to the rescue. A man tried to alert his neighbors to get them out safely.
"Soon as I walked outside, I heard a big band. And I saw a flash of fire go out," said resident Justin Glenn. "As soon as I saw that, I ran back upstairs, banging on doors, tried to do everything I could and got out."
Glenn said he banged on every door as hard as he could, screaming as loud as he could.
"People opened, scattered, and then everybody scattered downstairs. And it went from there," he said.
The fire was upgraded to a third-alarm at 10:45 p.m., as firefighters dealt with heat exhaustion and a resident suffered smoke inhalation. Both, however, are OK.
Some residents say they were concerned the fire would spread to their buildings, but firefighters put it out just in time.
"I opened the door, and all i saw were flames and smoke and I told my son, 'There's a fire,' and we grabbed our shoes and our pets and we got out," said Robin Johnson. "
Investigators said that cigarette caused an estimated $300,000 in damage, leaving 17 without a home.
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