Truck Tractor Catches Fire In Winnsboro, Startles Neighborhood
An East Texas neighborhood startled by a late-night blaze. Last night, just before midnight, a tractor truck sitting in the parking lot of a Winnsboro business caught fire. It happened at the "Tri-County Feed Store" in the 500 block of Broadway Street. Officials say firefighters didn't leave the scene until around 5:00 this morning. Those who live near-by were afraid the blaze could spread to their homes.
"We heard a big loud noise and we thought it was thunder at first and then we heard it again and realized it wasn't thunder," said eyewitness Robbie McGowan. When McGowan ran outside and saw the tractor truck on fire, she went and grabbed her camera.
"It was across the street and we could still feel the heat. It was a lot of dark, black thick smoke going up into the air," said McGowan.
The owner of "Tri-County Feed Store" says he uses the truck, which he bought in 2004, to transport animal feed. He says the truck, along with his other vehicles, had been sitting in the business' parking lot since Saturday.
He says he has no idea how or why the truck caught on fire. "I've had these big trucks for 20 years and I can't imagine and I just don't see how one could start by itself," said Wagner.
The fire also damaged another truck and two trailers. The loud bangs McGowan had heard turned out to be the tires on the tractor trucks and the trailers blowing up. "If it hadn't been for that trailer, the other trailer blocking the heat off, I figured it would have burned that building, at least that corner," said Wagner.
The truck was sitting just 15 feet away from the feed store. The fire didn't spread to the building but it damaged a canopy, some plants, power lines and electrical cables.
Wagner says without the truck his business is going to struggle. "It would be several thousand dollars a week, is what the loss of the truck would cost. It's an extensive loss," said Wagner.
Wagner says he's lucky enough to have friends in the business who are going to help him transport some feed. He says his other trucks will be working overtime to keep up with the amount of work.
Officials estimate the cause of the damage to be somewhere between $200,000 and $250,000. Wagner does have insurance. Authorities are investigating the cause of the blaze. They expect to have a better idea of what happened tomorrow.