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Austin firefighters stayed busy during Fourth of July

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TWC News: Austin firefighters stayed busy during Fourth of July
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The Fourth of July typically means a busy time for fire crews and this year was no different.

Crews with the Austin Fire Department responded to 29 grass fires in a 24-hour period around the Fourth of July. They stayed busy Thursday morning, responding to three structure fires in the area.

It’s still unclear how many of the fires were related to fireworks, but Battalion Chief Thayer Smith said the popular Fourth of July tradition is likely to blame for many.

"When you look at a day when you have one or two grass fires, and then on the Fourth of July you have 29 grass fires, you pretty much have to figure that most of those grass fires were firework related," Battalion Chief Smith said. "It is just going to continue to dry up, every day the conditions are going to continue to get worse until we get some substantial rain."

While fire investigators are yet to determine the causes of the Thursday’s structure fires, one has already been ruled arson.

Rudy Williams lives next door to the East Ninth Street home destroyed in a fire officials said was intentionally set. He said it was more than simply luck which kept his home from going up in flames too.

His home is built out of fire-resistant styrofoam and concrete with a metal roof.

"When I see one of the older homes destroyed well it is kind of sad because that house has been in Elaine's family since it was built and it is close to 100 years old," Williams said.

While fire crews were kept busy on the patriotic holiday, officials said there were still fewer fires than in recent years.

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