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Home destroyed, barge canal threatened by fire

By KBell
April 12, 2011 at 8:02 p.m.
Updated April 11, 2011 at 11:12 p.m.

Despite efforts by the Victoria Fire Department and area volunteer firefighters, not enough water could douse the flames on this home on Stoney Lane near Reinecke Road and Farm-to-Market Road 1685. Tanker trucks shuttled water to the scene, but in the end, the house was too far gone to save.

BUSY DAY

The Victoria Fire Department, volunteer fire departments and the Victoria County Sheriff's Office responded to several incidents Tuesday, including two more fires and various medical calls.

County Fire Marshal Ron Pray said he responded to a grass fire on the side of the road in Fordtran about the same time as the fire on Stoney Lane.

Another small fire started in Nursery and caused no damage, he said.

"We just had a lump of them all at one time," Pray said. "It's just kind of a luck of the draw kind of the thing that we're having multiple calls at one time."

Pray said he will be monitoring the weather and may have to enact a burn ban if there's not significant rain.

"We're not there yet, but we're getting there pretty quickly," he said.

A home on Stoney Lane that was destroyed by flames about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday was just one of several fires authorities responded to throughout Tuesday.

No one was injured in any of the fires.

The home in Mission Valley was almost completely engulfed in flames by the time the Victoria Fire Department arrived, said Capt. Tim Hunter.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze and keep it from reaching an attached garage.

Neighbors identified the home owner as Irene Siegel, a woman thought to be in her 80s, who lived alone and split her time between Victoria and Minnesota.

County Fire Marshal Ron Pray said Siegel was en route to Minnesota at the time of the fire.

Longtime residents of the neighborhood, who declined to be named, said Siegel moved in a few years ago.

Firefighters were on the scene as late as 7 p.m.

Pray was investigating the cause of the fire Tuesday night after responding to a fire at the Port of Victoria barge canal.

Protective barriers on the railroad bridge at the end of Black Bayou Road No. 2 caught fire about 5:30 p.m.

Apparently a train lost one of its shoes, which sparked the fire that engulfed about half of the protective barrier, which is made up of railroad tie-like posts that surround cement bridge columns, Pray said.

Firefighters were unable to reach the flames that were about 30 to 40 feet out in the barge canal, Pray said. The captain and crew of two tugboats, named Tonya Garrett and Josephine Devall, assisted in putting out the fire.

"Without them, we would still be out here fighting," Pray said Tuesday night. "They came through, and they put it all out."

Pray said the bridge didn't sustain any visible damage, but a bridge inspector would be officially clearing it for use.

He said rail boat traffic was stopped for about an hour-and-a-half, but some barge traffic was operating Tuesday night.

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