Firefighters Battle Large Fire In Downtown Van

Firefighters battle an early morning fire Saturday, trying to keep an East Texas downtown from going up in flames.   The fire started around 6:40 a.m. Saturday morning in an office building located on East Main Street in downtown Van. The building, a tax office, firefighters say is a complete loss.

Around 50 firefighters from five fire departments were called to the scene.  When they arrived, they say they tried to fight the blaze from inside the building, but could not get to the flames safely. Instead they had to attack it by cutting holes in the roof.

"We are all volunteers," said Captain Jeff Hudgens, Van Fire Department.  "Not a lot of guys around, so we had a lot of team work from surrounding departments to help cut some holes in the top and stop the spreading of the fire." Some businesses did suffer some minor damages. Richard Pickett's wife owns the barber shop next door.

"I think there is going to be smoke damage and maybe water damage," said Richard Pickett. "They had to cut through the roof because there's always a concern fire will spread."   With smoke and flames as big as they were both Pickett and firefighters say fortunately no one was injured.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Van Zandt County fire investigators were out Saturday afternoon trying to determine a cause.  If necessary, they say they will call the State Fire Marshall's Office.

Molly Reuter, reporting.