The Ballinger Fire Department responded to a house fire at 607N 10th street at approximately 5:25 a.m. on Saturday morning, February 9th. There were several occupants in the house when the fire started but they all escaped with no injuries.
Ballinger police chief Stanley Maresch said that when police officer Justin Amaro arrived the homeowner was inside the home. Amaro went inside the house and brought the homeowner out before the house became fully engulfed. Amaro was treated at the scene by Ballinger Memorial Hospital district EMS for smoke inhalation. Chief Maresch and officer Travis Baird also responded.
Assistant fire chief Brent Allen said that the fire had already spread when the fire department arrived on scene a few minutes after being dispatched, “It spread quickly. It was in the attic when we got there.” Allen said that the homeowner told him that he awoke to the smell of smoke and woke up the other occupants of the house. Everyone was safely out of the house except for the homeowner, who had returned with a garden hose to try and douse the fire inside the attic.
One piece of equipment that helped was the fire department’s new ladder truck that the city recently bought, “We were able to get above the flames and spray water down on the fire. The fire had spread very quickly. The ladder truck got us up there and did its job. It performed great.” The house is an older wood frame home with a shed close to it. The vehicles that were on scene from the Ballinger fire department were Engine 1, Tower 1, Brush 5 and Brush 13.
Allen said that there were propane tanks in the yard and one of them was a 75 gallon tank, “The pressure relief valves did their job. They blew off and it’s always disconcerting to see flames shooting 30’ in the air but that’s what is supposed to happen.” The pressure release valves blow off in the event of a fire so that the propane tank itself doesn’t explode. The fire department cleared the scene a little over 5 hours later.
The home was a total loss so the Red Cross helped get the family a hotel room and paid for it through the middle of this week. The family was left with nothing but the clothes on their backs when they escaped the home. The church Allen attends, 7th Street Baptist Church, and other churches were helping the family with clothing and other items. There is also a Facebook fundraiser page set up under the name, “The Diaz Family.”
In addition to Allen, 14 other fire fighters responded to the incident. They preferred that their names remain out of the story because, as one fire fighter who wished to remain anonymous said, “We would much rather hear our organization’s name but really when it comes to house fires, the families are the ones we’d prefer received the attention.”
The city is fortunate to have that caliber of people serving on our city and volunteer fire department, police department and EMS.