Five familes lost everything after a blaze destroyed The Hill at Windermere Oaks condominium complex Nov. 17 in the Spicewood area in eastern Burnet County. Members of the community launched the Windermere Oaks Fire Donation Fund and are collecting household items to assist the families. Donations may be made at the Grand Bank locations in Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay or by visiting www.youcaring.com and searching for Windermere Oaks. Courtesy photo
FROM STAFF REPORTS
SPICEWOOD — Fire officials believe a dryer or an underground grinder pump might be to blame in a blaze that displaced the occupants of at least six condominium units and destroyed a complex in the Windermere Oaks subdivision.
The blaze, reported at 3:40 a.m. Nov. 17, destroyed the condos within The Hill at Windermere Oaks complex, located off CR 414 in the subdivision in eastern Burnet County.
High winds and water issues posed a challenge for the Spicewood Area Volunteer Fire Department, the Marble Falls Area Volunteer Fire Department and the Pedernales Fire Department, which all responded to the scene.
“The wind was blowing so hard that those cedar condos didn’t have a chance,” said Spicewood VFD/EMS Director Patsy Lester. “Once one caught on fire, it whipped it to the others.”
Fire officials used about 35,000 gallons of water to control the blaze with each 2,000-gallon tanker truck traveling to the adjacent Ridge Harbor subdivision to access water from the Colorado River.
“Windermere doesn’t have fire plugs, so we had to go to Ridge Harbor to get water,” Lester said. “Because of the drought, everyone has a water problem out here. Windermere has been trying to get some fire hydrants but haven’t been able to because of low water.”
The fire displaced the occupants, including one child, of at least six units, Lester said.
“Some of the people smelled fire and got everyone out and called the fire department,” she said. “By the time we arrived, it was totally involved.”
Officials called American Red Cross to assist the residents.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
“They believe it either started from a dryer or a grinder pump under the house,” Lester said.
No one was injured, and a pickup truck also burned in the blaze.