'Pokemon Go' player spots Austin apartment fire and helps out

Darren Lutz doesn't live at the Ballpark East apartment complex at 1515 Wickersham Lane but he does live nearby. Tuesday morning he was in the neighborhood playing "Pokemon Go" when he saw the fire.

"I was just hatching some eggs, just caught a magic carp and I noticed the smoke," Lutz said.

Lutz says he called 911 and then helped get people to safety.

"I ran around the corner, I got up into the stairs and started banging on doors because some people weren't even aware there was a fire yet.  And it was already raging over the patio," he said.

Austin Fire Department Division Chief Palmer Buck says a little after 10:30 Tuesday morning there were reports of smoke coming from the third floor balcony.  When they got there, the fire was heavy.  They first knocked it down from the outside.

"Took hoses up to the third floor, began fighting the fire that had gotten up into the attic," Buck said.

When we spoke with Buck, firefighters had gotten the fire under control

"We also, because of the heat, added a couple of extra crews to make sure we can rotate our crews out and keep them fresh.  So we did have a total of 50 firefighters and 10 firetrucks here," Buck said.

ACC student Bryar Kappers saw people outside watching the fire before he actually knew what was happening.

"I saw the people and I just knew right away, something was going on, something was bad. There's no reason I should get that much attention you know what I mean and we just got out right away," Kappers said.

Felipe Garza lives just a couple of doors down from where the fire started.

"I was just glad that APD came by and banged on the doors, got everybody out safely. All I could think of was you know, I hope nobody was up in there," Garza said.

Thankfully, nobody was, the fire department says everyone got out safely.

Division Chief Buck says eight people will be displaced tonight due to fire damage, fire control damage and water damage. He said the apartment complex has agreed to help those people with accommodations. 

Estimated damage is $75,000 to the structure, $40,000 for the stuff inside. The fire department said it was accidental, "improperly discarded smoking material."


Some residents are displaced after a fire at an East Austin apartment complex. Several people at the Ballpark East Apartments had to be evacuated.

FOX 7's Casey Claiborne was at the scene and spoke to the person playing the popular game Pokemon Go who came upon the fire and warned residents. Casey will have more on the story coming up at 5 p.m.

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