AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Fire Department and Austin-Travis County EMS responded to a three-alarm apartment fire early Friday morning.
ATCEMS said six ambulances responded to the Ventura Apartments at 9133 Northgate Blvd. between West Rundberg Lane and U.S. Highway 183.
Upon arrival, AFD said the top portion of the complex was engulfed in flames. More than 100 AFD firefighters responded to the scene, and AFD assistant chief Brandon Wade all 40 units were damaged by either fire or water, which most likely will displace everyone who lives there.
As of ATCEMS’ update via Twitter at 5:15 a.m., at least four people have been taken to hospitals for treatment. Two of the people have critical, life-threatening injuries and were taken to Dell Seton Medical Center, one with burns and another with smoke inhalation. Two others were taken to St. David’s Medical Center with injuries not considered life-threatening. Four other people didn’t want to be taken to a hospital.
Capital Metro brought in buses to the complex to help keep people warm in below-freezing temperatures while crews put the fire out. The Central Texas Red Cross is also helping the residents with temporary housing.
A man KXAN talked to on-scene says he was having a dream about a fire and the dream turned out to be real. He says he only had enough time to grab his wife and a jacket before evacuating from his home. Not everyone could grab a jacket and are now left standing in the cold waiting to learn about their home.
According to paramedics, the call came in around 4 a.m. and within 30 minutes the call escalated with a need for more help.
During a briefing Friday, AFD said they were able to save several pets from the building, including a possum. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but even so, AFD reminded people to use care when operating space heaters and other portable devices during cold weather. AFD also said to make sure there are working smoke detectors in your home.