Thursday, April 17, 2014

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One person still unaccounted for in North Austin complex fire

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TWC News: One person still unaccounted for in North Austin complex fire
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Sixty families are displaced after a fire at the International Residence Apartments on Cooper Drive just off Highway 183 between Lake Creek Parkway and Anderson Mill Road.

Multiple fire agencies responded to the blaze, which broke out shortly after 1 a.m. Residents woke up to smoke billowing overhead and water flooding the parking lot below.

"The first deputies were pretty much banging on doors to get people out,” Sgt. John Foster with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said. "The fire moved fast and people were scrambling."

Three buildings total were destroyed, up to seven other buildings have been damaged by smoke.

Jollyville Fire Department has now the lead agency on the fire, and officials say the blaze is contained, but they will remain on scene all day putting out hot spots.

No injuries have been reported at this time. Officials say one person that lived in one of the three burned down buildings is still not accounted for.

“Quite honestly, I am hoping, praying and asking for the community to do the same, that we walk out of this horrendous fire with no fatalities,” Sgt. Foster said. “It literally looks like a war zone. It looks like bombs went off.”

The Red Cross is helping residents who were forced to leave their homes. Cap Metro shuttled displaced tenants to the Northwest Fellowship church at 13427 Pond Springs Road.

The Williamson County Sheriff's Office is asking all residents to check-in with them if they haven't already. They can call (512) 249-4009 to give their status.

Marty Suzanne McKellips says the Red Cross, like firefighters, were busy early Thursday morning responding to several area fires.

"We call this the home fire season, because people have their Christmas lights plugged in and their candles going and homes full of children,” McKellips said. “We would ask that you take an extra moment to be safe because it’s very tragic to respond to these fires right before Christmas."

Due to high winds and dry conditions have put Central Texas in a Red Flag warning Thursday until 3 p.m., and that could be extended. A Red Flag warning means the area is under extreme fire risk.

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