’Everybody swooped in’

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Blanket City Council member Dominique Suentzenich took this photo of the burning vacant house at 701Ave. H. Tuesday morning. Suentzenich helped the resident of the house next door get her animals out of the yard.

A fire burned a vacant house in Blanket Tuesday morning and damaged a car parked at a neighboring house, bringing a response from four fire departments, Brown County Precinct 3 and others who helped behind the scenes.

That was the description provided by Blanket City Secretary Rose Wigham, who said the fire burned the vacant home at 701 Ave. H, next to the Blanket school district. The fire also jumped to a yard across the street, where it was extinguished with a garden hose while firefighters concentrated on protecting the house at 703 Ave. H, Wigham said. That is the house next to the vacant house and where the car burned, she said.

Blanket Fire Chief Robert Rodgers said the house at 703 Ave. H might have sustained some minor damage such as melted siding, but firefighters saw no major damage.

Fire departments from Blanket, Zephr, Early and Brownwood responded, Rodgers said.

Blanket Mayor B.J. McGinnis turned on additional water wells to make sure firefighters had adequate water pressure, Wigham said. She said the mayor coordinated the water flow to firefighters and was “very instrumental in keeping water flowing.”

The man who owns the vacant house had been keeping electricity turned on at the structure so he could come work on the house, Wigham said. She said the same man owns the house at 703 Ave. H, which is a rental house.

“It was amazing how the firefighters got out there,” Wigham said. “Precinct 3 was out there with a tanker. They were good. When there’s a fire, they swarm from all different angles and swoop in on it. It all happened so fast.”

Blanket City Council member Dominique Suentzenich was on the scene and helped the woman who lives at 703 Ave. H get her animals out of the yard, Wigham said.

Wigham estimated that the fire began around 9:15 a.m. She said via text she understands someone heard “a loud pop/explosion in the attic” of the vacant house just before the fire began.

She said McGinnis was at the Blanket City Hall Tuesday morning when McGinnis stepped outside and saw the smoke. McGinnis told her there was “smoke out by the school,” Wigham said.

She said McGinnis told her he was impressed at the number of vehicles — some of them fire trucks, others private vehicles driven by firefighters — that “just came from everywhere.”