AFD says fireworks are to blame for house fire in North Austin

According to AFD, fireworks are responsible for the house fire in North Austin

The Austin Fire Department said it was the homeowner’s fireworks that led to the flames, but the homeowner told a different version of the story.

A home in Austin is a total loss after fireworks burn the building down.

The Austin Fire Department said it was the homeowner’s fireworks that led to the flames, but the homeowner told a different version of the story.

“I thought 2021 couldn’t possibly be as bad as 2020, but it quickly proved me wrong,” said Anthony Ponebshek, who owns the house that burned early Friday morning.

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House fire in North Austin

Austin Fire Fighters battled an early morning fire at a home in North Austin.

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Illegal fireworks resulted in a 1:30 am fire on Putnam Drive on the first day of the New Year. Ponebshek admitted that he lit some but said the fire didn’t start until an hour and a half later.

“I went to see a couple at midnight and checked carefully that there was no problem. And then I went in and it didn’t occur to me that other people’s fireworks would cause a problem for me too,” said Ponebshek.

Ponebshek was blown into the flames when the online game he was playing stopped working. He said he went to another room to check the internet and saw the curtains on fire.

“At that point it was only small, so I started looking for my fire extinguisher and then the fire grew incredibly fast. And I realized I just had to get out of there,” said Ponebshek.

Photo of the fire at home on Putnam Drive courtesy of the Austin Fire Department.

He quickly realized that he had to run for his life. “I couldn’t see through the smoke and I couldn’t breathe. And I was also naked and had to go out on the street naked because I didn’t have time to grab anything,” said Ponebshek.

When the firefighters were able to put out the flames, the house was already a total loss. A fire inspector said the damage amounted to $ 275,000. “Most of the floors are just covered with ashes and are burning debris from the roof, the attic,” said Ponebshek.

It’s a lesson Ponebshek said he hoped no one had to learn anything to not set off fireworks in a neighborhood, especially when people could sleep.

RELATED: Williamson County Fire Marshal Offers Fireworks Safety Tips

“I was a big fan of fireworks two days ago. Now I don’t think I’ll mess with them,” said Ponebshek.

Lighting fireworks is illegal within the Austin city limits. The Austin 3-1-1 app shows that more than 50 fireworks complaints were reported there between Thursday afternoon and Friday evening.

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