AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin will soon begin repairs on the old drill tower in downtown Austin.

In April 2021, the Buford Tower on West Cesar Chavez Street caught fire, damaging the exterior brick and windows. The department said the fire was caused by a homeless camp fire.

Austin Fire Department arson investigators arrested David Rosenblum, 58, in connection to the fire that caused about $12,200 in damages.

  • Fire spreads to Buford Tower in downtown Austin (AFD Photo)
  • Fire from homeless camp spreads to historic Buford Tower in downtown Austin (KXAN/Tim Holcomb)
  • What's left after fire from homeless camp spreads to Buford Tower in downtown Austin (KXAN Photo/Tim Holcomb)

The six-story building will undergo repairs starting in June, according to the City. Repairs include fixing damaged brick, windows and surrounding landscaping. Construction will also come with new lighting and carillon chimes.

Fencing will be placed around the tower during construction. The anticipated cost of the repair work is approximately $280,000, according to a city parks manager. It could be less depending on an insurance claim.

AFD veteran Capt. James L. Buford
AFD veteran Capt. James L. Buford, who died trying to rescue a teen from flood waters in the 1970s (AFD Photo)

The Buford Tower was built in the 1930s. It was used by AFD as a training facility for firefighters but most recently used on 9/11 for memorial stair climbs.

The tower was dedicated in 1978 and named for AFD veteran Capt. James L. Buford, who died about six years earlier trying to rescue a teen who ended up drowning in flood waters from Shoal Creek, according to AFD.