|Weekend fires keep firefighters busy|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
August 21, 2006 - Firefighters throughout the county were kept busy over the weekend, particularly Saturday evening when rapidly moving grass fires burned about 57 acres in northern Hopkins County and a truck hauling tires caught fire in Cumby forcing closure of Interstate 30 west and the north service road for about 2 hours.
At 3:11 p.m. Saturday, Sulphur Bluff firefighters contacted dispatchers to ask that Hopkins County and an additional Sulphur Bluff units be dispatched to County Road 3573 in Nelta where additional assistance was needed in battling a grass fire. Firefighters remained at the that scene until 4 p.m. Saturday, according to reports.
At 3:38 p.m. Sunday, Hopkins County, Peerless, Cumby and North Hopkins firefighters were dispatched to a large grass fire on FM 71 west across from North Hopkins school. Several firefighters remained at that scene until 6:43 p.m. battling what was first reported as a four acre grass fire with one structure in danger, according to fire reports.
That fire continued to smolder throughout the evening and overnight, and at 6:38 a.m. Sunday, North Hopkins and Hopkins County firefighters returned to the FM 71 west after smoldering logs near the roadway re-ignited.
As firefighters began getting a handle on the FM 71 blaze Saturday afternoon, Hopkins County and Cumby firefighters were pulled off to respond along with Arbala, Brinker and Campbell firefighters to the 109 mile marker on Interstate 30, where a westbound 18-wheeler hauling a trailer load of tires caught fire. Sheriff's deputies and state troopers also responded to shut down the westbound lane of I-30 in Cumby which was obstructed by the flaming trailer as well as closeing the north service road where fire and emergency apparatus were staged to battle the blaze. Firefighters worked in shifts to keep from overheating in the extremely hot conditions while they worked to contain and knock down the blaze. Once the fire had burned down enough, the smoldering remains of the truck-trailer and tires was moved to the side of the roadway, where it continued to smolder into the night.
Tire fires, according to fire personnel, are like hay fires. Once the fire is contained and extinguished as much as possible hot spots within the area continue to smolder and generally left to burn themselves out.
The north service road was reopened around 6 p.m. when emergency vehicles began clearing and the interstate was reopened around 6:30 p.m.
As units were clearing the north service road, county communications officers were contacted by Hunt County asking for water and added fire personnel assistance on a grass fire on County Road 4115 in eastern Hunt County.
North Hopkins firefighters were dispatched to County Road 4778 on County Road 4789 just after 7 p.m. after smoke was seen in the area. Firefighters located the source of the smoke on County Road 4789 and warned those burning of the county-wide burn ban and the consequences of violating that ban.
Overall, about 57 acres was burned Saturday afternoon during the grass fires in northern Hopkins County and Texas Forest Service was called in to assist with one fire.
Como firefighters Sunday then were dispatched to a small grass fire on State Highway 11 east at 2:10 a.m. and remained at the scene until 2:30 a.m.
At 9:12 a.m. Sunday, Hopkins County, North Hopkins, Dike and Sulphur Bluff firefighters were dispatched to what was reported as a structure fire on County Road 4591 in Dike. The caller said smoke could be seen coming out of the Fellowship Lighthouse Church fellowship hall. When firefighters arrived, no smoke could be seen, but investigation of the one story church building indicated an electrical short. The utility company was alerted.
North Hopkins and Tira firefighters invested a report of smoke from a suspected grass fire on County Road 4574 at County Road 4578 from 9:22 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Sunday. The firefighters searched the area but were unable to locate a fire.
Then at 1:42 p.m. Sunday, Hopkins County, Sulphur Bluff, Tira and North Hopkins firefighters returned CR 3573 where a fire had rekindled near Nelta Cemetery. Firefighters remained on that scene until 3:37 p.m.