Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

August 14, 2013

Fire and Rain

Busy Friday and Monday bookend a weekend of fires despite rain


Mineral Wells Index

— By CLINT FOSTER



Palo Pinto County may have finally felt the refreshing fall of rain in various areas over the weekend, but that did not provide much relief from the looming danger of wildfires. A myriad of blazes from different causes burned throughout the county and in Mineral Wells from Friday to Monday.

The fires combined with still relatively dry conditions, led Palo Pinto County Fire Marshal Buddy Harwell to request an extension on the county’s burn ban at the Palo Pinto County Commissioners Court meeting Monday morning.

The first of the fires came in the heat of Friday afternoon, around 4 p.m., in the heart of Mineral Wells. The Index was present as the Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department and Harwell responded to a grass fire near the Baker Hotel’s swimming pool area, on the corner of Hubbard and NE 3rd.

Witnesses in the area said they heard a loud boom before the fire and Harwell said he believes kids were responsible.

The other major fire on Friday was the result of a lightning strike in the Hills Above Possum Kingdom. Harwell said he joined the Possum Kingdom East, Gordon, Palo Pinto and Lone Camp Volunteer Fire Departments in responding to the grass fire that threatened two homes.

Harwell explained that the roughly nine-acre fire was hard to get to in the hills, so it took a while to extinguish. Ultimately, the VFDs put out the fire with no injuries or damage to the threatened houses. However, the prolonged fire fight did throw a wrench in Harwell’s evening plans.

“I was wanting to go home right at 4:30, I had plans with my family,” he said. “I was fixin’ to head out and go home and that [Possum Kingdom call] came in. It was probably around 5 [p.m.] and I got home at midnight.”

Lightning was also the culprit in a structure fire on Sunday in Mineral Wells. According to the Mineral Wells Fire Department, lightning struck a house in the 1300 block of S.W. 5th Ave, sparking a fire in the attic at around 11 p.m. Mineral Wells Fire Department and MWVFD responded and reported smoke and an active fire upon arrival. Both departments put out the fire within about an hour and neither of the home’s two occupants were injured.

In addition, crews reportedly responded to the following fires, according to Harwell:

• Aug. 9, 4:07 p.m. –MWVFD responded to a small grass fire at 1800 Millsap Highway near Hog Mountain and Poor Boys Riding Club arena. The fire was put out in less than 20 minutes.

• Aug. 11, 6:29 p.m. – MWVFD responded to a red Dodge pickup with a trailer full of hay that caught fire around U.S. Highway 281 North and Rock Creek Road. Mineral Wells Police Department requested a Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Deputy for traffic control.

Follow Clint on Twitter @Clint_Foster55