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Fires ravage county, homes lost

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Posted: Sunday, September 4, 2011 4:49 pm

Colorado County and area firefighters continue to battle a Labor Day weekend blaze that as of Tuesday had destroyed 11 homes.

The blaze, covering approximately 1,800 acres along Bailey Road near Columbus, also damaged four homes and 40 outbuildings were lost. 

In addition to buildings, approximately 38 vehicles, including trailers, cars and tractors were destroyed.

The fire was believed to be about 55 percent contained as of press time but Columbus Volunteer Fire Department Chief Walter Glaeser expected it to be fully contained by Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was called in to the Texas Forest Service on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 11:50 a.m., believed to have been caused by a downed power line.

As of 4:35 p.m. the TFS had seven aircraft on the scene assisting local fire departments with efforts to extinguish the flames. 

A command post was set up at Tommie Vaughn Auto Country and was used as a refueling station for fire trucks as well as a place for firefighters to rest and eat. Party Thyme Catering parked their trailer on the lot and fed the workers.

All roads in the county have reopened, however those traveling on Reese Lane and other roads affected will see dozer traffic as the forest service, military and private individuals work to scrape the ground to keep the fire from spreading.

“You’ll see smoke, but it’s not traveling,” Columbus Volunteer Fire Department Captain Dodie Dungen said.

In addition to CVFD, other departments from the area worked diligently to extinguish the flames including Bernardo, Frelsburg, New Ulm, Cat Spring, Rock Island, Sheridan, Oakland, Weimar, Shelby, Garwood, Bleiberville, Eagle Lake and Industry as well as Patterson, Midfield, El Campo and Sealy.

“Every day about 19 to 20 departments offered assistance,” Colorado County Emergency Management Coordinator Chuck Rogers said. “The help that has come in is amazing.”

“I just want to thank everyone that help in any way,” Glaeser said.

Colorado County Judge Ty Prause filed a disaster declaration with the governor’s office Tuesday due to the Bailey wildfire and other wildfires during the same time frame caused by severe drought conditions. 

Several other fires popped up in the county this weekend as well. There are reports of fires in Sheridan, homes lost in Eagle Lake, and in Weimar a residential fire was responded to in addition to a fire at UTEX.

Anyone wishing to donate to families affected by the fires may take items to First Baptist Church, 1700 Milam St. in Columbus.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • SMH posted at 10:50 am on Tue, Sep 13, 2011.

    SMH Posts: 2

    Wonder where KW went?

  • justin posted at 1:16 pm on Fri, Sep 9, 2011.

    justin Posts: 1

    Does KW happen to own some Llamas?

  • SALLIE617 posted at 2:56 am on Wed, Sep 7, 2011.

    SALLIE617 Posts: 1

    I believe the info that was reported to date has been sufficient and it has provided us with the information that was NEEDED to know. I guess some people are nosey and want a play-by-play of what is going on with the fire at all times. If this is the case, did YOU go out and offer your help to the citizens that became homeless at the blink of an eye? Did you offer to set up shelter, donate food or clothing to these victims? I would guess that the answer is "No". Maybe if you would have stepped up as a concerned citizen of the county, you would have ALL the information you needed. This is NOT a story to use as gossip over morning coffee.....this is a traumatic event that has left people of our county homeless! So why dont we just be thankful that no lives were lost, thank our firefighters who spent the last few days battling this blaze to get it under control and not worry about the petty stuff like " unaccepatable reporting". Be thankful that you have a place to lay your head tonight!!!

  • rjlacourse posted at 4:26 pm on Tue, Sep 6, 2011.

    rjlacourse Posts: 3

    what planet does kw come from

  • Tssss posted at 5:59 am on Tue, Sep 6, 2011.

    Tssss Posts: 2

    I think they got your point. Thanks for updating the FACTS Citizen. We could all report what we have heard through unofficial sources and be ahead of you but at least you take the time to report facts instead of rumors.

  • citizen rocks posted at 10:53 pm on Mon, Sep 5, 2011.

    citizen rocks Posts: 1

    KW, what else do you want to know? The fire is burning out of control. It is 50% contained. There is photo coverage. The fire departments from the area are risking their lives to assist. What kind of news are you possibly looking for? The staff is out doing their job on Labor Day weekend - for YOU. To report the news that is available - for YOU. How about a thank you every now and again? I am sure they would appreciate it instead of your insults. They do a fantastic job at providing YOU with local coverage. Even when you complain.

  • SMH posted at 12:46 pm on Mon, Sep 5, 2011.

    SMH Posts: 2

    KW--you obviously are not being directly and immediately affected by the fires since you have the time to read post about what the newspaper is doing.

    Why are you contacting State Troopers and TFS for information? How about you let them do their jobs in getting the fires under control?

    Random citizens who are not directly affected should not be taking up those people's time just because they want information. If you're going to say that you need information in case the fire is headed your way, leave now if you are that concerned.

    If the Troopers and TFS are friends of yours or something and you have "connections", why don't you ask what you can do to help instead of interfering? Just because you personally know someone from these agencies doesn't mean you are entitled to information.

    Whatever the case is, just quit complaining. What a moron.

  • KW posted at 11:37 am on Mon, Sep 5, 2011.

    KW Posts: 2

    I see you've removed my prior post. If you don't want your readership to retaliate against your unacceptable reporting (or, lack of reporting), then report. There ARE updates. There have been updates since your article was released. I've talked to State Troopers, why haven't you? I've talked to TFS, why haven't you? I'm sure you'll delete this comment, as well, but it's time to be accountable. If you're going to call the Citizen a newspaper, take responsibility for your lack of actions. The statement that "very little information is available," is untrue and irresponsible.

    Also, there are inadequate updates on your Facebook page, so your response that I should redirect my inquiries to that location was just another failed attempt at maintaining the facade that you're reporting on anything.

    In a small town, people rely on local news. Be worth relying on. Currently, the Citizen is not.

  • KolachQueen posted at 9:57 am on Mon, Sep 5, 2011.

    KolachQueen Posts: 1

    I was told this morning that the fires are still burning. My cousins lost their home to the fires...and probably my great-grandparents old family home too.

  • Tssss posted at 7:20 am on Mon, Sep 5, 2011.

    Tssss Posts: 2

    Surely more info is available by now? Don't promise updates if you are not going to do it.

  • KW posted at 6:39 am on Mon, Sep 5, 2011.

    KW Posts: 2

    Way to drop the ball on coverage for this, Citizen. No updates since 4:35 yesterday? Poor coverage, yet again.

  • Britches posted at 9:14 pm on Sun, Sep 4, 2011.

    Britches Posts: 1

    Does anyone suspect part of the current rash of fires could be arson?


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