AUSTIN (KXAN) — A child and three adults are in the hospital after an apartment fire in northeast Austin.
According to a tweet by the Austin Fire Department, a fire broke out late Thursday evening at an apartment complex on 1521 Reagan Hill Drive, near Northeast Early College High School.
AFD raised the response level to two alarms.
One of the tenants came home to the blaze and said he saw a bunch of people jumping out windows to get to safety.
“All I heard was a whole bunch of people screaming,” Lovensky Pleisime said. “I felt like I was in a Hollywood movie. I was like, ‘Man, what is going on?'”
Four apartments caught fire across two buildings. Austin-Travis County EMS tweeted the four people taken to the hospital are expected to be okay.
In a video sent in by Pleisime, you can hear screams ring out from the second floor of an apartment unit while Austin Police officers are seen catching people’s falls as they jump to safety.
Warning, the video below may be disturbing or distressing to some viewers.
“We were sitting on Cameron Road, and a call came up for service. We were luckily close by and able to respond. When we got on scene, we were pointed into the direction of a complex that was on fire,” said officer Sam Tyra.
Sam Tyra and his on-duty partner Trevor Newton graduated from the police academy a year a half ago. Now they work the night beat, responding to danger when it calls.
The two said this was their first time being up close and personal to a fire emergency.
“In those situations, you kind of start to work, and you’re not thinking about the flames, you’re just trying to get people out of their apartment,” said Newton.
A scary and chaotic situation, however, as the apartment complex residents saw it.
“He has about five kids, and he ran out with the five children,” said Pleisime.
Tyra and Newton along with other responding officers and first responders helped save each of the kids jumping from the second floor.
In an update just after 9 a.m., AFD said the fire was accidental and caused by “improperly discarded smoking material.” The fire caused an estimated $250,000 in damage – $200,000 to the building and $50,000 to the contents inside.
The fire damaged four units, but 20 units are unlivable now, AFD said. Fifteen people are being helped by the Red Cross.