AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Fire Department is battled a four-alarm fire at an apartment complex in South Austin on Tuesday afternoon.
According to AFD, the blaze broke out just after 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Mission James Apartments in the 4000 block of Victory Drive.
Fire investigators ruled the cause as accidental, caused by improperly discarded smoking material on a second-floor exterior balcony.
According to Division Chief Palmer Buck, when crews arrived to the scene, fire had broken out to the second and third floors. After attempting knocking down fire inside, the blaze started moving into the attic. The decision was made to pull firefighters out of the building for safety when the fire was upgraded to a third alarm, and is now at a four.
Buck said that no one was hurt, but there are some pets missing. One of the pets was found Wednesday morning by firefighters who said they heard a pitiful cry coming from the destroyed third floor. The cat named Bo was rescued from the apartment building.
Dozens of Austin firefighters, Austin police, Austin EMS and AISD officials are at the scene. Ann Richards School was evacuated and space is being coordinated there for displaced residents.
Over 30 people from 24 units have been displaced from their homes.
Once the fire is completely out, crews will go apartment by apartment to investigate, which could be as late as tonight into Wednesday morning. Fire damage is estimated at $750,000 for the structure and $250,000 in contents.