TX.: Austin police officers save burning building's tenants

By Dick Stanley, Austin American Statesman

TX. -- At least seven Austin police officers braved a burning downtown building early Friday to rescue about six people, including a female tenant who had climbed to the roof of the three-story structure in her underwear to escape the fire and smoke. Three of the officers were treated for smoke inhalation at St. David's Medical Center and released.

The fire at 304 E. Fifth St. — an old brick building a few blocks east of Congress Avenue without central air or central heat — did an estimated $600,000 in damage, almost destroying several recording and artist studios and two private apartments and putting community radio station KOOP 91.7-FM off the air for at least a week.

Fire officials think the fire started when a tenant of the building, which they said is frequented at all hours by musicians, artists and street people, left some smoking materials unattended. They did not release the tenant's name and said they were still investigating the cause of the fire.

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