AUSTIN (KXAN) — A family of three was able to duck out of their Northwest Austin home just minutes before it exploded on Saturday, the family reports.
Officials with the Austin Fire Department said they responded to the fire on Autumn Ridge Dr. shortly before 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Investigators determined the cause of the fire was due to a gas leak.
“We all made it out, but the roof was on fire and collapsing around us,” said Candace Barnes, who had only moved in last week. “Our cat died but two dogs made it out because the force of the gas explosion blew the garage door and back doors off the house.”
Barnes said she, her fiancee and 10-year-old daughter had just moved in eight days ago. She expressed thanks to the kindness of her new neighbors, despite not truly knowing them.
“They gave us clothes and held our hands as it burned,” Barnes said. “We had nothing but the clothes on our backs….It’s just devastating, though.”
Ryan and Candace had just finished putting the final touches on their 8-day-old home.
“The paint fumes have been making him snore, so he was asleep right up there in the gameroom area. It’s a miracle that it collapsed completely and that he’s still here,” said Candace Barnes. “The neighbors came out. We are actually wearing all of our neihgbors clothes.”
This could have been Ryan and Candace’s first home together. The couple just got engaged last fall.
“Yeah, it was suppose to be very exciting,” said Barnes.
It’s a bitter sweet ending. Hidden in the char were their engagement photos, a picture of Candace’s daughter and her precious teddy bear; each spared.
AFD crews will be on standby for the remainder of the day to monitor the structure due to the amount of debris and damage on-hand.
A go-fund-me account has been set up for the family.