Upshur Co. fire contained, two homes destroyed - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Upshur Co. fire contained, two homes destroyed


A fire that burned two homes to the ground in Upshur County is being investigated as arson according to Ken Downs, an arson investigator on scene.

"Just patterns that we're trained in, people kinda tend to talk," he said. "It's a close knit community and ya know so everybody kinda looks out for each other if they see something suspicious they kinda let us know."

Six fire departments worked together Friday afternoon to extinguish a fire.

Fire fighters have contained the blaze to one home and that home is deemed a total loss. The home that initially caught fire this afternoon has been extinguished, but is a total loss as well. Winds carried burning embers to a third structure that caught fire, but that home has been salvaged. 

As many as five homes were threatened by this fire, which at one point spread to the yards of two other homes. Crews rushed to soak down the area around those neighboring homes that in danger.

According to witnesses, the fire is believed to have started at a home on Janis Street in a brush pile in the back yard. Around 2 p.m., fire spread to the home itself, which burned completely to the ground. The fire then spread to another house which burned to the ground as well.

The Ore City, New Diana, New Mountain, Lone Star, and Shady Shores Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the scene. Gilmer Fire Department  sent trucks as well. Authorities from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Upshur County Sheriff's Department, and Ore City Police Department helped control traffic in the area and assisted firefighters.

The Texas A&M Forest Service sent a small plane to monitor the area and make sure the fire didn't spread further. 

Around 4:30 p.m. Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler issued a burn ban for the county effective immediately.

Crews will continue to monitor the area overnight since some hot spots are still active.

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