Weatherford Democrat

March 20, 2014

Man suffers minor injuries trying to put out fire


Weatherford Democrat

— By CHRISTIN COYNE

A Parker County man who attempted to put out a fire in his home and auto shop early Thursday morning was transported to the hospital for minor injuries after the fire got out of control and he had difficulty escaping.

Firefighters were initially dispatched to a report of a structure fire with entrapment in the 200 block of Atwood Road in far south Parker County shortly after midnight, according to Parker County Assistant Fire Marshal Frank Watson, who said the sole occupant was able to escape with minor injuries.

ESD No. 6 firefighters arrived within seven and a half minutes of being dispatched, a quick response for that part of the county, but found the two-story, wood-frame building with a metal roof fully engulfed in fire when they arrived, according to Watson. Flames reached 30-40 feet in height, Watson said.

The building was multi-use, with an automotive shop underneath and a home on the second floor.

Firefighters could not enter the building to fight the fire and focused on protecting surrounding buildings.

“There were three homes nearby that were threatened that we managed to save,” Watson said.

Firefighters also dealt with other hazardous issues while trying to contain and extinguish the blaze.

“One of the major issues that we had was all the chemical storage and everything that he had in the shop,” Watson said.”We had propane. We had accelerants. We had chemical vats to use for parts washing so several hundreds gallons of chemicals and lots of propane.”

To avoid an explosion, firefighters had to keep the propane tanks and chemicals cool, he said.

The building was a total loss and three vehicles were involved, as well, according to the fire marshal’s office.

Other responding departments included Weatherford, Cresson, Millsap, Greenwood and North Hood County.

“We had quite a bit of mutual aid assistance,” Watson said, adding that the travel distance for a water supply created another difficulty.

The fire is believed to have started accidentally in a second-floor room.

“Basically he was using certain chemicals in his home for cleaning, and he lit a cigarette and set them off,” Watson said. “It was completely accidental ... Basically what it came it came down to was he had some volatile chemicals open in an enclosed area and he was smoking in that area.”

The man did not immediately leave the building and attempted to extinguish the fire.

“He had originally tried to remain upstairs where the fire started trying to put it out,” Watson said. “He used two fire extinguishers and was unsuccessful. By that time the conditions had worsened to the point where he couldn’t see and he had to pretty much crawl out.”

LifeCare reportedly transported the man to Weatherford Regional Hospital for minor injuries.