1 injured in East Austin fire, 3 cats rescued

One person was injured, and several cats were rescued after a fire in East Austin.

The fire broke out just after 10 p.m. on Monday, May 13, at a home in the 3100 block of Garwood St., near East 7th Street and Pleasant Valley.

"When the crews got there, they found fire coming from one side of the duplex and there were occupants that were evacuating," says Austin Fire Department Division Chief Mark Bridges.

There were more than a dozen firefighters on the scene with fans and water hoses battling the blaze.

"Our crews pretty quickly were able to go into the fire and extinguish it and in the process, they were able to ensure that nobody else was in there. They searched both sides of the duplex," says Bridges.

Image 1 of 4

  (Austin Fire Department)

According to the fire department, there were three residents in the duplex when the fire started. There were two residents on one side and one resident on the other. 

While evacuating, one person suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital.

Residents also informed the first responders that there were cats inside.

"We do know that pets are vital members of people's families, so we do everything that we can to rescue them when we have the opportunity," says Bridges.

Three cats were found. One of them had to be revived using CPR.

"Just like people, CPR works on cats and dogs. In our standard medical inventory that we have on our firetrucks we do have oxygen masks that are made especially for pets," says Bridges.

Image 1 of 5

  (Austin Fire Department)

After searching the duplex, the fire department learned what may have led to the fire.

"We believe the cause to be derived from lithium batteries that were being charged inside the duplex and the batteries were probably for a scooter or one of those motorized bikes," says Bridges.

Bridges warned residents of the dangers of lithium batteries.

"Make sure that you have plenty of space around the batteries if they do get hot, don't leave them plugged in overnight. If they take a long time, just make sure that you are monitoring them, keep your charging space free, three feet around all of your combustibles. They do tend to overheat sometimes, and so we wouldn't recommend leaving them charging unattended," says Bridges.