Weatherford Democrat

December 24, 2012

Children playing with lighter spark grass fire stopped feet from homes


Weatherford Democrat

— By CHRISTIN COYNE | ccoyne@weatherforddemocrat.com

Dry conditions and boys playing with a lighter Friday afternoon led to a grass fire that came within a few yards of several Weatherford homes before it was stopped by area firefighters.

Firefighters from the Weatherford, Hudson Oaks, Springcreek and Greenwood fire departments responded to a fire after noon Friday in a field off of Sylvia Street that quickly spread to the east and north.

Weatherford Fire Marshal Bob Hopkins, who investigated the fire with help from the Parker County Fire Marshal’s Office, said the 8- to 12-acre grass fire was accidental and began when kids were playing with a lighter.

“They were in the field, typical kids thinking they could control it, it got out and away from them and spread to an adjacent field,” Hopkins said.

Weatherford police evacuated several of the duplexes on the east side of the road near the fire, Sgt. Wendy Field said.

The fire slowed when it spread into a heavily forested area, and firefighters were able to get the trucks there and stop it, Hopkins said.

They were able to protect the neighborhood fenceline from the back burn area, as well, Hopkins said.

One resident said her family returned home from getting lunch shortly after the fire started. She got out of the car before it stopped in concern for her dog in the house.

Firefighters were standing on the brick wall near her fence trying to put it out as it approached the back of the house. They stopped it within a foot of her back fence, she said. 

Another resident at the end of the cul de sac said he was home at the time but wasn’t aware of the fire until he got a knock on the door.

The fire came within 20 feet of his house, he said.

“We were so lucky the fire moved right behind the houses,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins asked the community to take basic fire safety precautions and be aware of the dangerous fire conditions.

“My concern is how dry everything is,” Hopkins said.

Though it is typically grass fire season during the wintertime months, “right now our conditions are really serious because of the lack of rain,” Hopkins said.

The area has not had a sizable rain in well over 90 days, he said.

“I would urge everyone to be extremely cautious when doing outdoor cooking,” Hopkins said, adding that people should refrain from throwing cigarettes out and parents should make sure their children don’t have access to matches or lighters. 

“We got very lucky this time,” Hopkins said.