AFD responds to three fires Sunday, urge caution in current conditions

Published 3:37 pm Monday, March 18, 2024

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The Austin Fire Department had a busy day Sunday after responding to three fires and again bringing a warning to people regarding current conditions around the area.

Austin Fire Chief Jim McCoy said two of the three fires were likely wind-aided fires, while the third actually benefited from the gusty, high winds experienced across the state Sunday.

The first blaze firefighters responded to was for a deck fire at around 3:45 p.m. in the 800 block of Ninth Avenue SW. McCoy said that there were flames visible on the small deck at the front of the house when Austin Police officers arrived, who put out the fire with fire extinguishers.

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This was followed by the AFD who made sure the fire was out. McCoy said the cause of the blaze was related to discarded cigarettes and likely pushed by high winds.

“We want to make sure our cigarettes are out,” McCoy said. “Have a metal bucket or water or metal bucket of sand, especially with those winds. It only takes a little spark to get things going.”

Just a couple hours later, at around 5:30 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to the 18000 block of Highway 105 south for a fully involved, approximately 12 by 16-foot shed fire caused by an ember from a wood-burning stove.

The shed was a complete loss including the contents, which included firewood, a fire pit, bikes and a weedeater.

Finally, at around 12:30 a.m., firefighters responded to the 27000 block of 540th Avenue in Lansing on a call of a full-involved garage fire. In this instance, the north wind helped keep the flames away from other structures as the house sat north of the garage.

Eight goats were lost in the fire along with various belongings of the family. McCoy estimates a total of $40,000 in damages — $20,000 to the property and $20,000 for contents.

The cause of the fire is unknown and the State Fire Marshal is investigating.

McCoy urges people to be aware of their surroundings as dry conditions and winds can combine to drive a fire.

“It’s dry out there and we haven’t had much moisture,” he said. “Once that wind feeds that fire and it takes off, it’s like a blow torch.”