Cat killed after fire rips through Central Austin home on Christmas

Austin woman deals with a tough loss on Christmas after a fire tore through part of her home and killed her cat.

The fire broke out at a home in the 4900 block of Strass Drive just before 11 A.M. Friday. David Weiland said that’s about the time his mother-in-law was supposed to be coming over to open presents with the family.

“We got a call that her house was on fire and came back over and sure enough it was,” he said.

Weiland said fortunately his mother-in-law was able to escape the home before it was engulfed in flames.

“She had just gotten out of the shower. She was getting ready to blow dry her hair and smelled smoke about the same time the neighbors saw the flames and called the fire department.”

Fire officials said the fire was accidental and started when a dryer malfunctioned.

“Crews quickly knocked down the fire, but not before the fire heavily damaged the detached laundry room and got inside the living room and kitchen area,” said Chief Palmer Buck of the Austin Fire Department.

The woman made it out of the burning home uninjured, and fire officials said her cat made it out as well but suffered from smoke inhalation.

“Firefighters and EMS personnel attempted cat CPR but were unsuccessful,” Chief Buck said.

Weiland said his mother-in-law is doing okay, but she is mourning the loss of her cat.

“She's very attached to Ethan. She loves her cats, she's passionate about that so it's unfortunate, but Ethan was a great cat,” he said.

The home suffered too much damage for the woman to return.

“There's a good portion of the house that has smoke damage, but a lot of her personal possessions are fine. The house has been secured, and we are getting things out of the house that are meaningful to her. All things considered, she has the right attitude and that is, this is just stuff,” Weiland said.

Weiland said they feel very fortunate and blessed something worse didn't happen. “Ultimately, I am thankful that this wasn't one of the worst days we could have ever had if we lost her, she is very special.”

The fire caused more than $100,000 in damage, but family members tell FOX 7 she does have insurance. They also said they plan on adopting a new kitten for her within a few days.