Transformer explodes, sets Camp Sheriff vehicles ablaze

Transformer explodes, sets Camp Sheriff vehicles ablaze

PITTSBURG, TX (KLTV) - A small explosion and fire happened right in front of the Camp County Sheriff's Department when two power poles were blown down. The fire engulfed three sheriff's vehicles before the Pittsburg Fire Department put them out.

We spoke with two of the five people inside the office when the poles fell.

Camp County Sheriff Alan McCandless and Justice of the Peace Harold Kennington heard what happened outside around 3 pm.

"Of course we heard this loud explosion," the sheriff said.

He said the flames were big and intense so they didn't go out the front door.

"I called the dispatcher on my cell phone and asked her to open the back door to the jail on the south side so the sheriff's secretary and I could exit the building and escape, not knowing whether or not that the actual building was on fire at the time," Kennington said.

"And we were all in the office and come running out and this transformer had fallen between these two trucks and exploded which caught this truck on fire first, the one closest to me, and then caught that one on fire. We couldn't move any of the trucks because the power lines were lying on top of everything," Sheriff McCandless said.

Kennington's personal vehicle had some damage from the power pole but he was able to drive it away after the fire was out and the power turned off. But the county vehicles burned inside and out.

"We had bulletproof vests, weapons, cameras, crime scene equipment," McCandless relayed.

All lost to fire. There was also live ammunition in the vehicles.

"Some of them you could hear them going off. Some of us were over there on the far side and as far as doing any damage from those they did not," McCandless stated.

The fire burned hot and they were concerned about the vehicle's fuel.

"Fortunately this truck didn't explode; the gas tank or it probably could have been more devastating," the sheriff added.

The courthouse was evacuated, but there were no injuries reported and smoke didn't enter the county buildings.

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