A three-alarm fire broke out at the City Point Apartments on Clayton Lane in East Austin early Thursday morning. Cell phone video given to FOX 7 by resident Zak Sulak shows part of an apartment building engulfed in flames.
AFD Battalion Chief Palmer Buck described the fire saying, "Flames 20 to 30 feet in the air above the building."
Firefighters quickly arrived on the scene and made sure residents in the building's 36 units got out safely.
"Firefighting efforts were put on hold so we could make sure the building was evacuated because of the amount of fire quickly overtaking the building," Buck told FOX 7.
APD officers were there to assist with evacuations and resident Estuardo Loranca also went door to door.
"I saw flames from the second floor to the third," Loranca said. "It was big fire and we just continued to knock on everybody's doors to try to get everybody out as fast as we could."
Resident Jon Nicol was one of those residents.
"I get woken up by someone banging on my door screaming fire so I ran outside of the building and looked at it and woke my girlfriend up and got her to run outside. It was a really big," he said.
The fire was upgraded to three alarms and at one point, 24 trucks and about 100 firefighters were on the scene. They worked to make sure the fire didn't spread to other buildings.
Once the fire was under control, investigators combed through debris and determined the fire was started by an improperly discarded cigarette. Throughout the day, firefighters escorted residents back to their units to get some of their belongings.
"On a case by case basis we'll collect information and help them out. It might be financial assistance, shelter, food, water, other resources in the community and then partner agencies and organizations will also help out," said Chris Latham with the Red Cross of Central Texas.
According to AFD, the fire caused $250,000 in damage to the building and another $100,000 in damage to contents.