By TODD GLASSCOCK
Firefighters from eight area departments responded to a blaze just before midnight Tuesday that destroyed an apartment complex construction site in the 1500 bock of Martin Luther King Blvd. in Mineral Wells.
The Royal Gardens site, meant for income-based senior living, was a total loss, said Mineral Wells Fire Chief Mike Pool.
Pool said reports of the fire came in around 11:52 p.m. Tuesday and when the first trucks from Mineral Wells arrived the structure was fully involved. The fire was out by 4 a.m. Wednesday.
The fire was massive, he said. As he headed to the call from his home outside of Weatherford, he could see the flames.
He said eight departments and about 50 firefighters from Mineral Wells and Weatherford Fire Departments and volunteer fire departments from Mineral Wells, Millsap, Cool-Garner, Brazos, Santo and Springcreek responded to the blaze, as well as to brush fires that erupted near the adjacent power plant from blowing embers and as far as Welcome Mountain, about 3 miles from the construction site. Also involved were both Parker and Palo Pinto County fire marshals.
No injuries were reported, Pool said.
Pool said the fire devastated the 75-unit complex and clubhouse that was under construction, as well as construction trailers and large amounts of equipment and heavy machinery such as loaders. Garages on the south and west sides of the complex received minor damage.
“Winds out of the south kept it off the garages,” Pool said. “The wind made it spread.”
Intense heat and flame also burned two power poles and damaged phone lines in the area, he said. The heat was intense enough that it sucked moisture from the concrete pavement around the complex, causing it to pop and crack. Several areas in the pavement around the complex were blackened and pocked with holes where the concrete had exploded.