AUSTIN - A high heat index isn't only dangerous to people and pets; it can also be dangerous to property. The energy of the sun is being blamed for a fire that caused $30,000 worth of damage on Cannonleague Drive in South Austin.
Monday's fire was initially a mystery for investigators searching for its cause, but video firefighters took early during the call revealed the Central Texas sun was to blame. The video shows a sunbeam shining from below on the corner of the house.
It was reflected by a mirror laying outside.
Resident Ruth Monroe, an artist who works with glass, wasn't home at the time. She said she's happy a passer-by called 911, allowing firefighters to get there in plenty of time to rescue her pets.
"Once we checked everything out, everything was okay. So we lucked out. A freak accident -- but we lucked out," Monroe said.
"The cautionary tale is that, certainly, anything in this heat reflective with energy coming off of that could ignite a fire," said Austin Fire Department Division Chief Palmer Buck. "Where we see that more often actually is when broken glass starts wildfires."
Buck added this is the first fire blamed on the sun that he can remember in his career, adding it's possible some fires who ended up having an undetermined cause could have started this way.
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