Fire Destroys Austin Home, Sends Child To Hospital

Posted at: 01/21/2013 6:58 PM
By: Dan Conradt


(ABC 6 NEWS) -- An early morning fire has left an Austin family homeless, and sent a child to the hospital.

It was four o’clock in the morning on the coldest day of the year when firefighters got the call.

“For what the occupants said was flames coming out of the heat registers," Austin fire chief Mickey Healey explained. Fire-fighters were on the scene within minutes.

"On arrival we found smoke and flames coming from the first floor, in the basement and eventually it also progressed to the attic and second floor, so we actually had fire on all floors of the house," Fire Chief Mickey Healey told us. "We did have one child that is being treated for smoke inhalation."

“And thank God no one was killed," added Nancy Schaefer King. She grew up in the house in the 800 block of 12th street north east. Her brother owns it now, and had been renting it out at the time of the fire.

"I still can't believe it. My childhood home ... all of us kids were raised here, every one of us, and now it's gone," King said.

“The structure has a lot of degradation to the floor structure, so at this point right now we're going to write it off as a total loss," Austin Fire Chief Mickey Healey said.

“It's just so unbelievable how fast it can happen and the devastation that goes along with it," added Nancy Schaefer King.

The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, but investigators are looking at a furnace.

"That's what it looks like, in the mechanical room downstairs was a significant burn pattern, so it looks like it will be coming from that area," Chief Mickey Healey explained.

At the time of the fire the wind chill was 40 below.

"We had hoses freeze up, nozzles freeze up, we had trucks that were having some issues," Fire Chief Mickey Healey told us. “We had air packs and radios that froze up on us, so it just makes it very miserable to fight fire any time temperatures get this cold."

Nancy Schaefer King got the call from her brother early Monday, and had to share the news with her sister. "She was on her way to work and I called her that dad's house burned down, and she was crying as hard as I was. But again thank God no one lost their life.”