Resident evacuated during Winnsboro fire: ’It was burning big time, flames shooting in the air’

WebXtra: Evacuee of Winnsboro feed store fire describes chemical fumes in air
Doug Stahle recounts his evacuation experience

WINNSBORO, TX (KLTV) - The air quality in Winnsboro has since returned to normal after a fire at a feed store released chemical fumes into the air, causing an evacuation for much of the area.

Firefighters kept an eye on the smoldering remnants of a fire at Valley Feed Mill Wednesday morning while down the street, Doug Stahle returned to his home at Autumn Wind Independent and Assisted Living.

“It was burning big time. Flames shooting in the air. Ugly looking smoke,” Stahle said in reference to Tuesday’s event.

He said he thought it looked toxic. But even if it wasn’t, it didn’t ease his concerns.

“Because I have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), I was glad the wind was blowing the other direction,” Stahle revealed.

He was asked to evacuate; of course, the last time he was forced to leave home was worse.

“I flooded out in Harvey and, yeah, I pretty much lost my home. I sold it as is and got out of there,” Stahle said.

But he only had to get out for one night in Winnsboro, as did around 70 other residents, including Wayne Powell, owner of the Autumn Wind.

“We followed the advice of local emergency authorities, as we always do in these situations, and executed our disaster plan,” Powell explained.

Residents stayed at a hotel, except for a few like Stahle.

“I went to my son’s place. I have a son who lives over at Lake Cypress and I went over there,” Stahle stated.

Stahle hopes he’ll be done with evacuations for a while.

“Twice in basically a year is a little much. I’ve had enough,” Stahle laughed.

Around 2 p.m. Wednesday the other residents began arriving by bus, coming home after the all-clear was given earlier in the day.

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