Illegal burning sparks brush fire

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV)- In Gregg County, fast moving brush fires, started by illegal burning, threatened several homes. The fires started about 2 PM Sunday off Highway 149, south of Lakeport. With a Gregg County burn ban in effect, firefighters say someone burning trash started a 5 acre blaze.

"It was moving so fast I saw red flames and right away my friend started with the water hose trying to put it out," says area homeowner Marilyn Barnes.

Fire crews from Elderville and Longview rushed water tankers to the scene. Homeowners did what they could to stop the spread, and when the wind began to stoke the fire, homeowners started evacuating.

"My daughter said get out now, and I got up and looked out the window and there was smoke and ashes and everything going past the windows," says evacuated homeowner Rudy Sieger.

"When the fire started to get close, I said 'we need to get out.' got the kids, said 'get in the car," and we high tailed it to the highway," Barnes says.

Fire came within just a few feet of homes.

"Everything in my yard is burned up, but it didn't touch my house," says Barnes.

It jumped into the trees , then to anything that would burn, out buildings, two boats and even a motor home were destroyed.

"Kind of helpless watching it come around her house over here till it got to the motor home," Sieger says.

For 3 hours, crews scrambled to put out hot spots, before they could grow again. In the end, no homes were damaged.

"Thank God for these guys putting it out," Sieger says.

Though they have not been identified, investigators say the people who burned the trash will be fined for violating the burn ban.

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