All residents accounted for after apartment fire

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by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 20 at 6:28 PM

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas -- Dozens of people have been dislocated from their homes after a fire broke out at a Williamson County apartment complex.

The flames burned through buildings at the International Residence Apartments complex on Copper Creek Drive near Pond Wood Road Thursday morning.

The first call came in to firefighters around 1:45. The flames started in one unit and quickly spread to two other buildings.

Austin firefighters say two of the three buildings burned down and the third suffered major damage. A total of five buildings, 68 units, had to be evacuated. Between 40 and 50 people are now out of their homes.

People living in 24 units at the complex were not accounted for earlier in the day. Officials say they have since been in contact with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office, and no injuries or deaths have been reported.

Firefighters say high winds and low humidity made putting out the blaze a challenge. Residents were even trying to help the firefighters in the harsh conditions.

"The people that live here, absolutely. I saw several incidents of them trying to run hose," said Austin Fire Lieutenant Josh Portie. "Things happened quickly as far as fire progression. You know with winds like this, it's extremely difficult to get ahead of it. Large complexes like this, close exposures, you know a lot of factors that are playing here."

The wind that caused the firefighters so many headaches at the complex also caused problems for homes behind the buildings. Embers and ash were being blown into people's yards, roofs and fences. In addition to putting out the fire at the complex, fire crews had to also extinguish several smaller fires in the surrounding area.

The American Red Cross is at the complex to help people who have been evacuated. The Alamo Drafthouse nearby also opened its doors to people who had to leave their homes. The Round Rock School District has also set up donation sites to help those affected.

The Red Cross says residents affected by the apartment fire will be briefed Thursday at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the shelter located at 13427 Pond Springs Rd. Residents will be shuttled to their apartments from the shelter.

Fire investigators say it is too soon to determine what caused the fire, but they intend to stay at the complex throughout the day, working to find out.

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