Austin Fire Dept.

AM Update 7/10/12
7:37 am
Tue July 10, 2012

AM Update: Deadly Overnight Fires, Fallen Soldier, Armstrong Lawsuit Dismissed

Corporal Juan Navarro was killed in an enemy attack on July 7 in Afghanistan.
U.S. Department of Defense

Overnight Fires Claim At Least 3 Lives

Austin firefighters responded to two deadly fires early this morning. Crews removed two children from a structure at 6226 Wagon Bend Trail in Southeast Austin. The two young boys, ages five and seven, were later pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators believe the fire started in a car and spread to the home. But AFD Spokesperson Lt. Jim Baker says the scene is still under investigation. Baker says investigators have not yet been able to enter the building.

One person was killed in a second overnight fire at 5311 Chico Street in East Austin. Fire crews were able to rescue four other people. Three of the fire victims were transported to University Medical Center Brackenridge for treatment.  A firefighter also suffered minor burns.

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Fourth of July
12:38 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

AFD Investigating Whether Fireworks Caused Fires

Unclear if fireworks contributed to any of dozens of recent fires.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Austin and Travis County fire departments have responded to dozens of grass and trash fires in the last 24 hours. Crews responded to 29 small grass fires and 11 trash fires.

But, they say, for a hot, dry Fourth of July, there were actually fewer fires than they expected.

Most of the fires are still under investigation but Battalion Chief Thayer Smith says fireworks were likely involved in many.

“When you have 29 grass fires on the 4th of July and on the 3rd of July you only had two, certainly you would expect that the majority of those grass fires are obviously going to be related to fireworks in some form or fashion," said Smith.

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11:57 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Boat Fires Labeled Arson

Photo by Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Austin fire officials believe that yesterday's boat fires on Lady Bird Lake were intentionally set.

Investigators don't know the specific cause of the fire that destroyed three boats--including a two-story party barge--and part of a dock near the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge just after 2:00 on Christmas Day afternoon. They do say that someone was seen running from the area about the same time the fire broke out.

3:13 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Boat Fires on Lady Bird Lake

Two boats caught on fire on Lady Bird Lake Christmas Day afternoon, near the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.

The first fire was reported shortly after 2:00 p.m. AFD dispatches indicate the fire grew quickly. Another boat nearby also caught fire, bringing bringing in more firefighters and limiting traffic on the bridge. The fires were reported contained just after 3:00, but firefighters were remaining on the scene to extinguish any hot spots left over. No injuries have been reported. Investigators don't know how the fires started yet.

Top Stories
10:13 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Top Morning Stories, December 25, 2011

Part of the LBJ Ranch house near Johnson City. The National Parks Service has opened the living quarters of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson to the public.
Image courtesy

Best wishes for this Christmas Day! There was a Christmas homecoming at Fort Hood, the loss of a house in East Austin this morning, and a look into the Hill Country home of America's 36th President.

Troops Return to Fort Hood

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News Brief
9:21 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Morning Update for October 30, 2011

APD arrest over three dozen Occupy Austin protestors overnight.
Photo by I-Hwa Cheng for KUT News

Occupy Austin protestors clash with police overnight...First African American firefighters in Austin honored...and UT pounds Kansas in college football.

Overnight Arrests in Occupy Austin Demonstration

Dozens of Occupy Austin protestors were arrested early this morning, as police began enforcing a new rule limiting  how late the demonstrators can hand out food. Memos from city officials last week prohibited sleeping on the city hall mezzanine and distributing food after 10:00 p.m.

Demonstrators told the Austin American-Statesman that APD officers warned them at 9:45 last night that the food rule would be enforced. About 12:30 this morning, police tried to shut down the food distribution table. When the protestors refused, officers started making arrests.

As many as 40 were reportedly arrested, charged mainly with trespassing. The only resistance occupiers apparently gave police was passive. Police Chief Art Acevedo arrived at the city hall plaza in the pre-dawn hours. He told reporters that there were no injuries in the mass arrests.

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6:48 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Report: Austin Fire Chief Out of Town When Central Texas Wildfires Started

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News.

The Austin American-Statesman published a report online last night that Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr stayed in Colorado for a Labor Day weekend golfing trip  when the Central Texas wildfires began Sunday.  The paper reports Chief Kerr stayed in contact with her department by cell phone and email.

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News Brief
5:58 am
Thu July 7, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 07, 2011

The dean of UT's College of Liberal Arts issues a report on higher education that differs greatly from Governor Rick Perry's vision.
KUT News

Perry, UT Dean at Odds over Higher Ed Changes

Texas Governor Rick Perry is responding to a report from a dean at UT Austin.  The dean’s report criticizes proposals from an Austin-based think tank.  The governor backs those proposals which include splitting research and teaching budgets and giving state higher education funding directly to students instead of universities. 

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5:16 pm
Thu May 19, 2011

City To Retest Thousands Of Firefighter Applicants After Leak

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

The City of Austin interviewed about 2,300 applicants earlier this year for jobs as Austin firefighters. Now, they’re going to have to conduct those interviews all over again. That’s after allegations that some applicants were secretly given the interview questions in advance.

Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr says she received an anonymous letter on Tuesday claiming that the quesitons and the scoring grid for AFD’s “structured oral interview” had been given in advance to certain applicants.

Kerr says she’s not sure that the allegations are true, but the letter did contain copies of the questions and the scoring grid. That raises enough concern that the City will have to retest all of the applicants.

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3:48 pm
Wed December 29, 2010

Firefighters' Union Says Chief Lowering Recruitment Standards

The chief of the firefighters' union is accusing the chief of excessively lowering recruitment standards to make the force more diverse.
Image by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Austin Fire Association President Bob Nicks believes that Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr is setting the bar for job applicants too low in an attempt to increase diversity. Nicks says he will file a formal grievance with the city tomorrow.

Currently, four out of five firefighters are white. Women make up only five percent of the force.

The fire department has an extremely rare opportunity to change that. It has about 100 positions to fill. But not everyone agrees on how screen the candidates.

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10:07 am
Wed December 22, 2010

How To Find Out What Those Cops Are Doing On Your Block

Curious why those police cars are in your neighborhood? There are ways to find out.
Photo by Nasha Lee for KUT News

Ever see flashing red and blue lights of a police cruiser on your block and wonder what they are doing over there? Here's how to find out.

The Austin Police Departments' Public Information office is open during normal business hours. You can start by calling them directly at 512-974-5017.

If they are unable to help you, or it's after hours, try contacting the APD division that covers your neighborhood.  You can find that list here.

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4:12 pm
Fri December 3, 2010

Austin Fire Department Receives 1,400 Job Applications in Three Days

Austin firefighters battle a car fire in 2009. AFD is looking to fill 100 vacancies and has been overwhelmed with applications.
Image courtesy Sheeshoo

Whether it's the coolness of being a firefighter or the higher-than-average unemployment rate in Travis County, the Austin Fire Department is being deluged with applications as it seeks to hire a record number of firefighters.

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