Two fires spark arson investigation in Ballinger
Two fires at uninhabited homes on Feb. 3 are being investigated as arson. Few details have been released at this time. Captain Robert Langston of the Ballinger Fire Department commented briefly on the two blazes, "All that I can say is that the two fires on the early morning hours of Feb. 3 just after midnight are currently under investigation."
According to Langston, the houses didn't have electricity, "One was vacant with no electricity. It was a total loss. One was uninhabited and being used as a storage building. The fire was contained to one room. It also had no electricity."
These fires mark the second and third fires that the Ballinger Fire Department has battled in the last month. On Jan. 26, the home at 1105 N. 8th St. was destroyed by fire. One person was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene but declined transport to the hospital.
The investigation into potential arson is being conducted by the Runnels County Sheriff's Office.
In addition to the hazards caused by severe drought conditions, an Arctic cold front has descended on the area, increasing the risk for fire in homes that are improperly heated. The majority of homes in Ballinger are older, wood-frame houses. These burn hot and they burn quickly. The fires can easily spread to other homes.
The Ballinger Fire Department has done a commendable job in successfully fighting and containing the recent fires. The department has deployed their Ladder 1 truck, which was purchased in 2019, to all of the fires. The truck allows the firefighters the ability to fight the fires from above, thus helping reduce the risk of the flames spreading to other homes. In 2020, the fire department ordered a new heavy rescue pump truck. The delivery of that truck has been delayed by COVID, but the department says it should receive it this year.