AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin fire crews stood by a burned-out house in the northeast part of the city for hours Friday to put out hotspots and fires that could spark from flying embers. The three people who lived there must find another place to live. Their dog is also missing.
The home on the 12000 block of Zeller lane had its roof partially collapse. It’s a total loss, with an estimated $270,000 in structure damage and an additional $130,000 in damage to the contents inside.
Fire crews responded within five minutes of the first call just before 8 a.m., but officials say the there was heavy smoke and flames coming out of the back and front of the house by the time they arrived.
Two people were in the house when the fire broke out and APD official Palmer Buck told the media that it was a “close escape” as they were able to get out of the house just ahead of the fast-moving fire.
Crews were up against 30 to 40 mph winds, which fed the flames and required a defensive response. Two extra units were called to the scene to assist with the response. It took firefighters about 25 minutes to gain control of the fire.
Two fire units set out to scan the neighborhood for hot embers that may have spread through the neighborhood as the flames were fanned by strong winds. With dry, windy weather there is an increased danger of wildfires, Buck said.
“It looks grim,” Buck said of the dog. Fire crews will make another effort to find the dog in the destroyed home when they are sure it is safe to go inside.
The cause of the fire is unknown and fire investigators are at the scene.
A neighboring home suffered some minor damage after an ember from the original fire started a small fire on the outside of the second floor.