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12 people injured in massive Austin apartment fire

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The Austin Fire Department was on the scene of a four-alarm fire at a northeast Austin apartment complex Monday, and it could be described as nothing short of chaotic.

In a blaze that took more than 100 firefighters and more than three hours to get under control, 12 people were injured trying to escape.

"Lady came out on her balcony with her infant and tossed her baby off the balcony trying to get it out, because the fire was moving so fast in there," Austin Firefighter Steve Gibbon said. "One of the fastest fires I've seen."

Gibbon was one of the first on scene.

"We had to put off fire attack because people started jumping off of balconies," Gibbon said.

Four people, including a pregnant woman were injured, after jumping off their balconies to escape the flames. Two suffered minor burns and two others suffered from smoke inhalation.

One little girl suffered from heat exhaustion, and one firefighter injured his elbow.

The fire was first reported as a three-alarm fire, but was later upgraded to a four-alarm fire. Plumes of smoke could be seen from downtown Austin.

"This is one of those fires where you expect the worst, because of the amount of the fire and how fast it was moving," Gibbon said.

They expected the worst, but thanks to their efforts, no one was seriously injured.

The apartment complex was 100 percent occupied. Roughly 24 of the 86 apartments were destroyed or damaged.

Those who were evacuated stuffed whatever belongings they had time to save into their bags and cars.

One young resident found out about the fire while she was still at school, and described what she saw when she got home.

"I saw all of the clothes, people with their clothes, people crying," Kenia Rodriguez said. "It's really sad, because everybody knows everybody around here, you know."

People displaced by the Regency Apartment Complex fire were taken by bus to Reagan High School, where a reunification center was set up to get the families back together.

The fire was at 7020 Grand Canyon Drive, with cross streets of Westheimer Drive and East St. Johns Avenue. The complex is in the general area of Interstate 35 and U.S. 290 East.

Authorities have not yet confirmed what started the fire.

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