courtesy Austin Fire Department

Austin Fire battles four-alarm apartment blaze in south Austin

June 12, 2018 - 2:58 pm

AUSTIN (KJCE) -- Austin Fire crews battled a four-alarm blaze at an apartment complex in south Austin Tuesday afternoon.

Crews were dispatched to the Mission James Place apartments in the 4000 block of Victory Drive, near South Lamar Boulevard and Highway 71 in south Austin just before 2:30 p.m.

The fire grew to a second alarm at 2:34 p.m., then a third just before 3 p.m. The fire grew to a fourth alarm around 3:45 p.m.

Officials say the fire began in a second floor unit's balcony, spreading to the third floor and then the attic of a building. 24 units were affected. Firefighters evacuated when the fire spread to the attic and switched to a defensive position.

In addition to the 24 units affected, the complex's leasing office was also affected by the fire.

Investigators say the fire was accidental, caused by improperly discarded smoking materials.

Two Westlake Fire Department units, along with several Austin Fire units responded to the scene. In all, more than 100 firefighters responded to the four-alarm blaze.

The Central Texas Red Cross is assisting approximately 30 displaced residents, who will not be able to re-enter what's left of their apartments until some time Wednesday.

Children at the nearby Ann Richards School were evacuated to Burger Center. Austin ISD officials say summer programs at the campus will remain closed on Wednesday as the campus serves as an emergency shelter for displaced residents.

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