Discarded Cigarette Blamed In Fire

Twenty-five people were displaced after an improperly discarded cigarette caused an apartment fire Sunday morning in Northeast Austin, fire officials said.

The fire at the Trestles apartments at 1071 Clayton Lane, near Interstate 35 and U.S. 290 East, was ruled accidental but could have been easily prevented, Austin fire Battalion Chief Palmer Buck said. The fire caused $350,000 in damage, one apartment was destroyed, and six other apartments sustained smoke cigarettes and water damage, fire officials said.

No injuries were reported.

American Red Cross of Central Texas spokeswoman Sara Kennedy said some of the displaced families had friends or relatives to stay with, and apartment managers were helping to temporarily relocate those who don't to vacant apartments in other buildings of the complex. The Red Cross primarily provided food to residents, she said.

Fire Lt. Jim Baker said residents of undamaged apartments would not be allowed to return until the building's wiring was checked.

The call about the fire came in at 8 a.m., Baker said. The first officials on the scene found the fire on the third floor of the apartment building, Baker said.

Austin police and fire officials evacuated residents from Building 16, where 17 of 24 apartments were occupied, fire officials said.

Erin Smith , who lives in an apartment across the parking lot, said she called 911 after seeing flames and ran upstairs to bang on doors to get people out.

Firefighters got the fire under control in 15 to 20 minutes, Baker said.