Twenty-three homes destroyed in fire

March 1, 2009 1:28:25 PM PST
At least 23 homes and three businesses have been destroyed by a fire that's burned 750 acres in Central Texas. Officials say two National Guard helicopters, one helitanker and one air attack plane are dousing water on the wildfire on Sunday near Bastrop and Smithville.

Officials say 13 residents spent Saturday night in a Red Cross shelter. Officials evacuated residents and shut down the highway leading into the area Saturday. Texas Forest Service spokesman Lewis Kearney says some residents are being escorted back to their homes Sunday afternoon to identify their property.

The fire started about noon Saturday when a power line fell. Kearney says the fire is about 50 percent contained. He said members of the Bastrop Sheriff's Department were trying to get a good assessment of what was lost.

Bastrop is about 30 miles southeast of Austin.

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