1 dead in North Austin house fire

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by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and KVUE.com

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 21 at 1:49 PM

AUSTIN -- A resident has died after a fire burned through their North Austin home.

The two-alarm fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. Thursday at a house on Kellies Farm Road near Scofield Ridge Parkway and MoPac. Crews with the Austin Fire Department say the flames engulfed the house and caused significant damage.

Neighbors say they heard explosions and rushed to help rescue those inside the burning home.

"We heard, like, four big explosions, then I ran outside, and it looked like the sun was out," neighbor Andrew Kurio said.

Kurio lives two houses away. He says he ran towards the flames. He helped catch one of the residents as they jumped from the second floor. Then he tried to save another man trapped upstairs.

"So we tried to get the ladder and put it in the back window to get up there. We got up there and right when I set the ladder on the house, the house started to push in 'cause of the flames," Kurio said.

He wasn't able to make the rescue. He says the fence was starting to catch fire, so he ran to get fire extinguishers from his garage.

"I was worried it was gonna catch the trees on fire over there, and that would have been probably the end of the neighborhood," Kurio said.

Residents in a neighboring home were also evacuated, and their home was partially damaged by the fire. The person who lives in that house says fire destroyed the part of home where the electricity comes in, so he'll out about a month while the home is re-wired.

When firefighters arrived, they had to deal with 20 to 25 mile-per-hour winds and heavy flames. Austin Fire Captain Andy Reardon says it was a tough decision to focus on surrounding homes, but that probably saved the block.

"At some point they realized they had too much fire inside that house to save that house," Reardon said.

He also said the home had working smoke detectors, which most likely woke the three surviving residents.

Firefighters say four people lived in the home that burned to the ground. Three escaped. No names have been released at this time.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Friday Dec. 21, the Austin Fire Department announced it would release the cause of the fire and the offical cause of death for the one resident who died after Dec. 25.

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