Fire Destroys 42 Acres Of Family Ranch

A massive grass fire destroys more than 40 acres of farmland at a Tyler family's ranch.

It started after one Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Paluxy Drive and Cumberland Road.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the air was still smoky, with big, black clumps of burning bales of hay. Fifty-seven bales, in all, were lost.

The culprit was a machine used to roll hay. Firefighters suspect the baler sent off sparks.

The farm worker using the equipment tried to put out the fire and keep it from spreading to nearby houses. The wind and the dry, hot weather made that a very difficult task.

"He came out and pulled the machine and we saw the smoke," George Gillis, Jr., a nearby construction worker who saw it all, said. "And we told one another it looked like smoke in the hayfield. When I looked up and he looked up, the hay was on fire."

"A lot of family heirlooms in there [three houses nearby], and that was our main concern, was making sure we didn't have any losses in our large house," Beth Manziel, a member of the family that owns the Paluxy Ranch, said.

Nine fire trucks and the Texas Forest Service fought the fire. Ambulances were out there earlier, in case anyone experienced heat exhaustion. Luckily, no one was hurt and the fire is contained.

Fire officials say they will simply let the bales of hay burn out over the next couple of days.

Julie Tam, reporting.