Blaze claims trailer home

Lawton_A Comanche County man burning his trash is now homeless after the fire quickly spread.  Firefighters are blaming the windy dry weather conditions for the blaze.  The fire started just before 11am in east Lawton about five miles south of 7News.

The smoke could be seen from miles away as it quickly enveloped the trailer home and shed.  The owner of the home was in his yard burning trash in a metal barrel in what started as a controlled burn.  But, for him, conditions were ripe for a wildfire.  "As dry as we are it started the grass on fire.  It got up to the house and destroyed the house," says Comanche County Fire Chief Clint Wagstaff.

Flowermound and Geronimo firefighters worked on the blaze that started with an ember from the trash can.  That was all it took to ignite the dry grass below it.  "Spread within minutes," says Wagstaff.  "The call came in - a grass fire - and, less than 30 seconds behind it there was a structure fire.  It moved that fast," he says.

No amount of moisture from last week's ice storm was going to keep the grass from lighting up.  "They are dead and do not absorb moisture," Wagstaff says.  "They are just sitting there waiting to burn on top of the wet soil."

Flowermound Fire Chief Josh Sullivan says his crew was the first on the scene and was able to save part of the structure, but it was no use - the inside of the home is completely gone and has structural and smoke damage.

Sullivan says people just don't realize how hazardous cold, dry and windy conditions can be, until it's too late.  "It's an elderly couple that lives here.  They are good people, it's just an accident that it happened," he says.  Luckily no one was hurt.  The wife wasn't home at the time of the fire and the owner was outside when it happened.

"It's sad.  We're lucky no one lost their life here, but it could happen in these dry conditions," says Sullivan.  The couple is staying with a relative until they get back on their feet, but they lost over $80,000 in property damages.

The situation could easily have been avoided.  Fire crews urge everyone to be especially cautious -grass, brush and trash could go up in flames in a matter of seconds.  Check for burn bans and weather conditions in your area.