AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - The fire moved quickly at The Woods on Barton Skyway after starting shortly before 4:30 a.m. Monday morning. Two bodies were recovered from an apartment unit where the roof had collapsed.
"As we were able to get in dig deeper into the areas that were burned, in the areas that collapsed, we were able to remove more debris and as we were removing debris around the first victim unfortunately we found a second victim,” said Austin Fire Department Division Chief Thayer Smith.
It's believed the fire ignited on a second-floor balcony.
"We couldn't see anything we ran outside minutes after we came out, it was like the living room was on fire and we were knocking at the Neighbors door and have them come out,” said Vijai Sathya
Video was recorded by a resident who only wanted to be identified as “Giles," who said his pets alerted him to the danger.
"I actually got woken up by my cats, I woke up to fed them and I looked up the window saw something that was kind a building, on this building here, took me a couple seconds to realize what it was and I started to smell it,” said Giles.
By mid-morning the flames were out and residents, some still wearing what they had been sleeping in, tried to salvage what they could. A laptop is about the only thing one man found in his apartment that was even remotely worth taking out. The Red Cross is helping nine residents who have been displaced. The building was boarded up and secured while investigators tried to identify the cause.
A fire hydrant located next to the building helped fire crews knock down the flames, but this complex was built before code required sprinklers, and that wasn't the only challenge.
"These complexes in this area are notorious for fires, we've had a lot here over the years, part of the problem is access," Smith said. "Most of them are built into the Greenbelt so most of them don't have good access around them that was the case here."
A preliminary review has put the damage estimate at $750,000.