Posted on January 3, 2013 at 8:31 AM
Thursday, Jan 3 at 4:45 PM
AUSTIN -- An Austin family escaped from their burning home Thursday morning.
The homeowner called 911 around 6:30 a.m. and told Austin firefighters that he heard pops coming from the attic above his garage. When he went to check on the noise he found the attic filled with smoke.
When firefighters arrived at the home on Mandeville Circle near Anderson Mill in Northwest Austin flames had started shooting through the roof. Crews managed to contain the fire to the attic and the garage area, but the entire section is now charred black. The roof burned away.
Firefighters had to pull back temporarily after hearing some explosions.
“Fires in garages and attic spaces are really tough as far as access and also with what's stored there,” explained AFD Lt. Josh Portie. “Sometime during the fire while they were trying to attack it, they started hearing explosions which is, you know, kind of expected in garage areas but still it's like, 'Hey, is everybody out of the house? Is everybody safe? Let's kind of re-evaluate what's going on' and that's what they did.”
Two parents and their two adult children along with the family dog were in the house at the time the fire started. They all made it out safely.
Once flames were out the family began slowly moving things out of the house in small suitcases packed with clothes. Firefighters helped carry out bags filled with more belongings that they could salvage.
While most of the house didn't burn in the fire, there's still smoke and water damage throughout. Firefighters say the family will be staying somewhere else for at least the next few nights.
AFD estimates the damages at $300,000, including $200,000 structurally,and about $100,000 in property.
AFD says the cause of the fire was an electrical branch failure in the attic.