Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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January 17, 2014

New light shed on weekend fire

By CLINT FOSTER

LAKE PALO PINTO – Three fires raged across Palo Pinto County over the weekend that ultimately contributed to the Palo Pinto County Commissioners Court’s decision to reinstate a county-wide burn ban on Monday.

Now, new information has surfaced concerning arguably the most serious of the three weekend fires that illustrates just how much of a challenge it truly presented for local firefighters.

This particular fire occurred Sunday, between noon and 1 p.m., at a two-story home on Dunn Drive on the west bank of Lake Palo Pinto.

An army of firefighters from Lone Camp, Santo, Gordon, Strawn, Palo Pinto, Lake Palo Pinto, Brazos and Mineral Wells volunteer fire departments all responded to the blaze as well as Emergency Medical Services units from Santo, Tri-Cities and Possum Kingdom East.

Palo Pinto County Fire Marshal Buddy Harwell told the Index the flames had engulfed the entire second floor of the home by the time firefighters arrived.

“It was just a bad fire,” he said. “We needed all the water we could get.”

A representative from Santo Fire and EMS said the house was a “lost cause” upon arrival – with both the home and a vehicle under the carport trapped in an inferno – so firefighters were charged with the difficult task of containing the fire and preventing from spreading to many nearby structures and trees.

Harwell said the area was fairly densely wooded, making this task all the more difficult.

Yet, even with a north wind pushing the flames directly at a neighboring house, firefighters prevented any of the surrounding structures – including the burning home’s garage – from getting scorched.

Santo Fire/EMS said this fire required nothing less than “total teamwork” to combat. All firefighters were assigned different areas to work and rotated, taking turns hydrating and resting to stave off heat exhaustion from the towering flames that produced two audible explosions.

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