Nine people saved by smoke alarms in less than three hours in Austin

The Austin Fire Department said in less than three hours, Thursday morning, smoke alarms saved the lives of nine people.

AFD said a cigarette is to blame for the fire that broke out just before 8 a.m. on Sahara Avenue just off Stassney Lane in South Austin.

Dozens of people, including the resident, called 911 to report the fire that caused more than $250,000 in damage. “She's saying that there is somebody inside. The dog is. The dog’s in the house? Okay. How many dogs and where are they usually located? One, I don't know, I couldn't find her. Okay,” 911 tapes revealed.

Firefighters did pull a dog from the home, and tried to resuscitate it, but they were unsuccessful. “I don't want you going back inside, stay outside, fire trucks are on the way. They're taking too long. Ma’am we are going as fast as the fire trucks will let us drive. Okay.”

The woman inside was showering at the time when the fire broke out, but ran out when she heard her smoke alarm. “This is the second time we had a smoke alarm go off in 3 hours, in the two fires that we've had that notified residents,” said Chief Palmer Buck of the Austin Police Department.

Just 3 hours before that fire broke out, around 5 a.m. 4 adults and 4 children got out of a burning home on Blalock Drive in Northwest Austin. All were woken up by a smoke alarm. The resident called 911, “What started burning first the car or the garage? I don't know. I just heard the fire alarm go off. Have you gotten everybody out of the house ma'am? Yes. Don't let anybody back in the house.”

Fire detectives said this fire was accidental and caused by an electrical short in one of their cars. One firefighter was injured, but is expected to be okay. The fire caused more than $50,000 in damage. The family has been displaced from the home and is staying with relatives.

Chief Buck said this is a good reminder with daylight savings coming up in a couple weeks. “We want to remind people that smoke alarms again we've had 9 people that have been notified of a fire by smoke alarms. Can't over say how crucially important it is to have working that working smoke alarm.”

Daylight savings is coming up on March 13th.

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