UPDATE: Franklin Co. forest fire ruled arson - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

UPDATE: Franklin Co. forest fire ruled arson

UPDATE: KLTV has learned that the fire that destroyed over 300 acres and took more than six hours to contain has been ruled an arson. Authorities are offering a $2000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved.

FRANKLIN COUNTY,TX (KLTV)- Several close calls and even a trapped homeowner rescued, in a massive effort last night to contain a blazing forest fire in Franklin county. It started yesterday afternoon just before 4 o'clock on f-m 3357, about four miles north of Winnsboro near lake Cypress Springs and was fought for over 6 hours, leaving over 300 acres torched. It was a hellish scene, even for firefighters when they arrived.

"Within two minutes of arrival the whole area exploded in flames I'm talking about 20 foot flames," says south Franklin volunteer firefighter Jean Patterson.

Roads were blocked off as crews rushed to stop the fire from getting to homes.

"This has been kind of the worst case scenario we've been expecting these due to the conditions," says Texas forest service agent Brian Pope.

A frantic moment as a man called firefighters with frightening news that his mother was trapped in her home surrounded by fire.

"Immediately ran our truck to her area and I put on my sprayers on both sides and began to break down the fire wall, the flames finally died down a little bit and she was able to come to us," Patterson says.

It was a massive effort to try to control the blaze, 14 fire departments participated along with 2 fixed wing aircraft, 2 helicopters and numerous firefighters. The problem was fuel, there were several pine tree farms stretching for miles inside the burn area.

"Once it gets into those pines and the heat builds up real quick and it travels real good," says south Franklin vfd chief Matty Rhoades.

One home and several cars were destroyed as the fire couldn't be stopped in time. In the end 349 acres are scorched.

"If we didn't have the resources we had as quick as we had it, we might still be out here on it," says Rhoades.

The woman who was rescued was not injured. Investigators believe the fire started in one of the area pine tree farms. The cause is still under investigation.

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