Fire destroys 2 neighboring homes

November 7, 2012

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Two mobile homes were destroyed by flames and one other residence sustained relatively minor fire damage Monday morning in the 6600 block of Dayla Court in the Blue Water Shores subdivision southeast of Granbury.

No injuries were reported. A dog, which reportedly barked to alert the two occupants of the home where the blaze began in time for them to safely exit, was missing afterward and presumed dead.

The next house south of that one also burned to the ground. The resident, Barbara Williams, said she was unhappy with the response time of the firefighters – based on what some neighbors told her – although she was not home when the fire began.

In addition to her home, which Williams said she had lived in for seven years and was almost completely remodeled, she also had a Toyota Tundra pickup and a Sea-Doo that she thought were destroyed.

“If they had been here earlier, they could have saved my house,” said Williams, noting she was in Granbury at a grocery store when she got a call about the fire.

Dave Raffa, Pecan Plantation fire chief for 18 years, emphatically disagreed with Williams’ assessment. Pecan was among six of the volunteer fire departments that responded.

“From my perspective, the response time was outstanding,” Raffa said. “There were three fire chiefs there on the scene with the initial response. We developed a plan, and we executed it.”

The first 911 call came at 10:41 a.m. and the first fire unit arrived at the scene at 10:55, according to Raffa. He said that there were apparently no working fire hydrants in the neighborhood – other than one painted black, indicating it’s not in working order.

Engine 42 from the deCordova Bend Estates Volunteer Fire Department was the first tanker to arrive, Raffa said, followed by Engine 82 from Pecan. Both carry 2,000 gallons of water. Those, plus the other water tankers that arrived, were refilled at a nearby AMUD hydrant on Fall Creek Highway.

Raffa said the burning mobile homes were “less than 10 feet apart,” making it a difficult fire to handle – along with the troublesome northerly winds that helped propel the flames.

Raffa said, “Everything went as well as could be expected – that whole block could have burned.”

The woman who lived with her husband in the house where the blaze began was transported via ambulance to Lake Granbury Medical Center for evaluation, but it was unrelated to the fire, Hood County Fire Marshal Brian Fine said. She had no fire injuries or smoke inhalation, according to Raffa.

Fine said the cause of the fire is under investigation, “but nothing appears to be pointing to anything but accidental.”

A popping sound was heard over the noise from fire trucks idling at the scene, caused by ammunition in a workshop exploding in the flames, Raffa explained.

The Red Cross was on the scene to offer assistance to the fire victims, officials noted.

SORTING OUT DAMAGE

The residents of a large double-wide modular house, next door to Williams, included a 33-year-old man, his wife, brother and four children. His wife, brother and 2-year-old son were home when the fire started. Their house had what Fine labeled “moderate” fire damage on its northeast corner, plus damage to a small shed. Daniel Wells said he was at work in Fort Worth when he got a frantic call from his wife.

Wells’ brother Michael Wells, 31, works at night and was sleeping in the corner bedroom that sustained the damage.

“Panic. Confusion, Get the hell out of the house is pretty much the instinct,” Michael Wells said, describing what it was like to wake up hearing his sister-in-law telling him the house was about to catch fire.

Michael Wells said he had an experience one night about 15 years ago in his home in New Braunfels when he was sleeping and a fire erupted in an attached garage. His mother was awakened when the family dog licked her face, alerting her to that blaze.

Daniel Wells said he had no insurance covering his home’s contents, but that wasn’t his major concern.

“I’m just glad everybody is okay,” he said. “Stuff can be replaced, human life can’t. God is good. The main thing (my wife) was worried about was pictures.”

A fourth residence, a three-bedroom, two-story home just north and upwind of the address where the fire began, was apparently spared major damage. That was greeted with great relief by Ashley Lamb, who lives there with her mother and two children. She has insurance, but the home itself holds special meaning.

“My dad built that house with his own hands, and he died eight years ago so it’s very dramatic. That’s the last thing he did before he died,” Lamb said of what has been her abode the past 16 years.

She said no one was in the residence when the fire began.

“I’m very fortunate and very blessed,” Lamb said, noting that her dad’s ashes are in the home. “I feel bad for the rest of the families. They lost everything. One of them even lost a little dog.”

[email protected]|817-573-7066, ext. 254

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