Austin Fire Department investigates arson fire of downtown office building

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"Fire investigators have determined that the fire was intentionally set. A fire was ignited in a trash can at rear of structure and fire extended into House/office. Fire damage est 100K structure and 30K contents" (@austinfireinfo)

The Austin Fire Department tackled an abnormal amount of fires Sunday.

A blaze ignited on the 500 block of West 17th Street in the early morning, a house that had office space for several therapists and a psychologist was destroyed.

AFD reported the fire to be an arson. Investigators believe someone intentionally moved a trashcan near the backside of the building and set it on fire.

Dr. Andrew Beurger said some moments from his family and their time in Germany got destroyed but he was grateful no one got hurt. “My office was in the back here, everything was covered in tarps and wet and burnt and ruined," Beurger said.

AFD said they are investigating leads. The building sustained an estimated $130,000 in damage.

Another fire developed downtown on West 3rd Street at Amli, a second hi-rise apartment building.

AFD said the fire began in the first floor parking garage. They believe someone may have thrown a hot item in the trash compactor. Division Chief Thayer Smith said the sprinkler helped prevent the fire from spreading up the building. When fire crews arrived they extinguished what was left of the fire and worked on smoke removal. Residents were able to return to their homes later that day.

“We really got to ask folks you know not dispose of that stuff in the trash compactor because this is the result of what happens when you do that,” Smith said.

The apartment fire was the second hi-rise fire the department has responded to in the last two weeks for someone tossing an improper item down the trash chute. The building sustained minimal damage.