Jacksonville area firefighters battling two structure fires on Austin St.
CHEROKEE COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Jacksonville police and fire personnel have responded to a large structure fire near the intersection of Austin and El Paso Streets. The structure appears to be a hotel.
A spokesman for the Jacksonville Police Department confirmed Sunday afternoon that there is a large structure fire near the intersection of Austin and El Paso Streets. The JPD officer said they have blocked traffic on Austin and El Paso Streets.
“Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and special thanks to the multitude of departments who came to our aid,” stated a post on the Jacksonville Fire Department Facebook page. “The department is still at the scene of a major structure fire on the corner of El Paso St. and Austin St., known as Hotel RITUAL.”
The Facebook post stated that most of the hotel’s interior has been destroyed, and fire crews are still trying to extinguish the fire.
According to a post on the Instanews Cherokee County Facebook page, the Jacksonville Fire Department asked for help from the Earle’s Chapel and North Cherokee volunteer fire departments.
A second structure, a home, near the intersection of Austin and San Antonio Street caught on fire later Sunday.
A spokesman for the City of Jacksonville said that the initial 911 call came at about 1:03 p.m. Sunday.
The Jacksonville spokesman said no one was in the structure when the fire broke out, and no injuries have been reported.
Fire department personnel believe the fire started in the hotel’s basement, but that will be determined during the investigation.
According to the East Texas News reporter at the scene, the hotel has three stories and a basement, and the third story has collapsed.
At about 4 p.m. Sunday, the Jacksonville public information officer said the second fire is out. The Jacksonville spokesman said the second fire was unrelated to the first fire.
Fire crews are still trying to extinguish the fire at the hotel, he said.
Firefighters from Rusk are manning the Jacksonville fire station while JFD personnel are fighting the fires, the city spokesman said.
Motorists traveling in that part of Jacksonville should exercise caution and look for alternate routes.
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