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Leander Fire Victims Allowed To Return

Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Leander residents whose homes were destroyed by a 30 acre wild fire yesterdayhave been allowed back into the area.  Fifteen mobile homes in the Horseshoe Trailer Park were consumed by flames. Michael Smolenski lived in one of them with his teenage daughter.

“This all we can afford. Now it was a decent place to live, but it’s gone now. Nothing left," he said.

The blaze occurred in an area off Horseshoe Drive near County Road 274, just west of State Highway 183

The fire also damaged seven homes and destroyed sixteen vehicles. Leander fire chief Bill Gardner says they’re still not sure exactly how it started.

“The initial investigation shows that the fire may have started in a wild land area where it buts up against some of the homes," he said.

Two people were treated for smoke inhalation, and four fire fighters were treated for overexposure to heat. Last night, 189 homes were evacuated as a precaution.

A City of Leander spokeswoman says donations of clothing and household goods for the fire victims can be brought to Hill Country Community Ministries at 1005 Lacy Drive in Leander. She says cash donations can be sent to Austin Disaster Relief Network. The Williamson County Red Cross also provided assistance in the immediate aftermath of the blaze. They accept donations here.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
Daniel Reese is a photography intern at KUT News. He is a student at Ohio University.
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