AFD continues investigation into E Austin house fire

AFD continues investigation into E Austin house fire

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Austin firefighters are continuing their investigation into a house fire in east Austin that sent seven people, including three children, to the hospital.

Monday afternoon AFD investigators combed through charred debris following an early morning house fire in the 2100 block of East 14th Street.

"Fire (was) coming from almost all the doors and windows," says AFD Batalion Chief Palmer Buck.

Crews arrived to a chaotic situation just before 5:30 a.m. and were told that several people were still inside the home. They fought flames to rescue two girls, ages 16 and 11.

Two people, who were sleeping in a small shed on the property, helped several others inside the house break through windows to get out.

"Extended family members broke out windows with their hands trying to get in," said Buck.

A neighbor told FOX 7 that one man was badly hurt while trying to make it out.

"His whole face was all cut up, pretty bad. Everybody's pretty bad. All you can do just keep y'all prayers and thoughts with them," said the woman.

Firefighters say seven people were inside the home and all of them were taken to hospitals for burns and smoke inhalation. Firefighters told FOX 7 this fire serves as a reminder of why it's critical to have an exit plan.

"Having an evacuation plan: Do you know two ways to get out of your house? Two ways to get out of every room in the house? And then where are you going to go when you get out of the house? Having a meeting place where everyone can get together and you can account for everybody," Buck said.

Neighbor Demetrius O'Conner took the opportunity to remind his kids about fire safety.

"When I heard about the kids, it made me think of all the kids here and I want to make sure they're practicing safe habits," he said.

Those are the habits firefighters are reminding everyone about now that colder weather has arrived.

"Along with the smoke detectors, some common sense tips in winter heating: make sure your heating and A/C is in good shape, if you're using space heaters make sure they're the newer type that have safety precautions, space, three feet."

The 16 and 11-year-old girls were taken to a burn unit in Galveston. A pregnant 16-year-old and a 65-year-old man were taken to BAMC in San Antonio. Three others, two 19-year-olds and a 13-year-old were taken to Brackenridge and Dell Children's Medical Center and have since been released.

Firefighters say they did not find any working smoke detectors in the home. They have not ruled out all possible accidental causes, but have not ruled out arson either. Investigators are asking that anyone with information contact AFD.

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