The Lupe and Ernestine De Los Santos family, who lived at the 2313 Bowie residence, had been unaware of the fire and were alerted by neighbors banging on the door. The family vacated the home, and none were hurt.
Temperatures of 90 degrees, the searing heat of the fire and heavy firefighting gear combined to contribute to the firefighters’ injuries.
Capt. Paul Nunn and firefighter Daniel Roberson were transported to Wilbarger General Hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion. Nunn collapsed while fighting the blaze on the second-story roof of the home located at 2313 Bowie. Fellow firefighters and EMTs were able to lower him down a ladder and onto a stretcher for transport to the hospital.
Fire Chief Charles Stewart said Nunn would be held overnight at the hospital for observation. Roberson was released following treatment.
Another firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and still another was later treated at Central Fire Station.
Firefighters from the Electra, Chillicothe and Odell Volunteer Fire Departments assisted with manpower and provided relief to the exhausted local firefighters.
Stewart said the fire started in a wooden shed behind the vacant house. He said a large pile of brush near the shed likely fueled the fire, causing it to spread to the houses. Firefighters reported hearing several explosions from the area of the shed shortly after their arrival.
The vacant house at 2311 Bowie St. was owned by Randy and Alethea Adams of Lubbock, Texas. Stewart said that house was totally gutted by the fire.
The upper rooms of the De Los Santos house, located over a garage and kitchen area, were also gutted by the fire, Stewart said. He said other rooms of the house suffered heat, smoke and water damage. Contents of all rooms, including most of the family’s clothing and musical instruments, were also destroyed.
Representatives of the American Red Cross were on hand to assist the family.
Firefighters remained on the scene late Saturday. Stewart said the fire was under control in about an hour, but firefighters were patrolling the burned sites for possible rekindle.
An investigation continues into the cause of the blaze.
By Linda Stewart/ For the Times Record News
June 4, 2006