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Arbor Pointe Apt. fire

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A rep with the Austin Fire Department says the fire started because someone started cooking and then left the food unattended.


Most of the tenants living at the Arbor Pointe Apartments, like Iris Belardo, woke up in a panic.

Belardo said, "Everybody was sleeping in the apartment complex and Joseph, one of the teenagers, he lives here and he was just knocking on everybody's door, trying to get us out of the apartment."

Austin fire crews responded to the 2500 block of east Oltorf at nine Sunday morning.

"He said, there's a fire, there's a fire and I'm like, what?!?, he said there's a fire, so I pulled out my dogs," said Iris. "If it wasn't for Joseph, we probably would have been gone."

AFD Battalion Chief, Tayer Sith says it started in a third floor apartment unit.

"They were able to make fairly quick entry to that and confine that fire to the kitchen and the cabinets in the kitchen."


One of the tenants, a young man, is responsible.

Smith explained, "He had started cooking breakfast and then got distracted."

Iris said, "The stoves are so old, but their alarm system is very good. I mean just frying a piece of chicken and the smoke comes up, it works."

Along with cigarette fires, unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of Austin fires.

"People start cooking, get distracted for whatever reason, or start cooking and then fall asleep," said Smith. "The occupant was transported to the hospital for evaluation of smoke inhalation."

Iris said, "He was nervous, he couldn't breathe or nothing like that...he just was...scared."

Smith said, "We were able to rescue a cat and a dog...gave the cat some oxygen."


The fire may have been extinguished quickly, but it's never easy to lose your home.

The young man and his roommate are displaced, but she's just happy to have her pets back.

Austin-Travis County EMS and the American Red Cross also responded.

"I thank God for me being alive and I thank God for the people that was here to help us out," Iris said.

She says her apartment is damaged, but not from the fire.

Iris explained, "We have the holes from the raccoons in our walls, so I have smoke in my, maybe the raccoons will go now."

It only took minutes to cause about $30,000 dollars worth of damage.

Firefighters really want us to pay attention to what we're doing, especially because the two leading causes of fires in Austin are cigarettes and unattended cooking.

Both are preventable.

October is Fire Prevention Month.

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