AUSTIN -- A handicapped woman is dead after a heavy fire broke out at a North Austin fourplex.
The Austin Fire Department confirms that the woman died in the fire which broke out just before 3 p.m. at 11802 Alpheus Drive off of Duval Road between U.S. 183 and MoPac in North Austin.
Another person was treated at the scene by EMS officials.
Eight people are now without a home. The Red Cross is assisting.
Witnesses here tell KVUE News an elderly woman was smoking a cigarette upstairs when she dropped it, and her chair caught on fire. She started screaming for help, and that's when a neighbor tried to rush upstairs to save her, but couldn't get through the smoke.
AFD Battalion Chief Thayor Smith says it was a dangerous risk, but a heroic one.
"Fires these days move so fast. The smoke is so toxic. We certainly don't recommend putting yourself in danger at any point, but citizens are going to do the heroic things that citizens do," Smith said.
Chief Smith says there were no fire sprinklers in the four-plex since it is an older building, and they cannot determine if there were working smoke alarms since the fire damage is so bad.