‘It scared me, because there are families there’: Fireworks blamed for 3 house fires in NE Austin

Austin

The Austin Fire Department says the incident caused $255k in damages.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Fire Department said fireworks caused an overnight fire in northeast Austin that damaged three homes.

Officials confirmed to KXAN at least one home is considered a total loss.

AFD officials said they were called to the scene at 6917 Bethune Avenue around 4 a.m., where crews spotted the fire at one home that was still under construction. That fire quickly spread to two other homes nearby and a vehicle.

Crews doused flames after another panicked call — another Fourth of July night of celebrating gone wrong.

Out in the northeast Austin neighborhood, hours later, you can still see sparklers on the ground and used fireworks.

“I saw everything lit up,” Rafael Mendoza, a neighbor who lives across from where the fire was, said.

Mendoza said before he knew it, the flames were put out thanks to a quick response from firefighters.

“In a rush, they put out the fire,” he said.

Mendoza described even the pavement was engulfed with flames too.

“It scared me, because there are families there,” he said.

AFD Division Chief Thayer Smith said they were getting nonstop fireworks calls on top of the calls they usually get.

“We also had 13 dumpster fires last night, which is unusual,” Thayer said. “We usually only have one to two a week. All in all, I think we had four to five structure fires related to fireworks… luckily the weather was on our side with the recent rain and the high humidity.”

Mendoza is sending his prayers out to the families impacted, and he’s thankful no one lost their life. 

“Material things can be replaced, but family can’t,” Mendoza said.

Officials estimate the fire caused $255,000 in damages. At least one resident was displaced as a result of this incident. No one was injured as a result of the fire.

They’re pleading with neighbors to follow the city’s ordinance that bans fireworks within city limits.

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