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Grassfire destroys barn in its path

NEAR LAWTON_ A grassfire in an east Comanche County field ignited a barn in its path and destroyed it. By the time firefighters arrived to the fire on Bishop Road east of 60th Street, the flames had already engulfed the barn in flames.  The smoke from the blaze filled the sky with black clouds.

At least two dozen firefighters from several area departments tried to save the barn--but there was nothing they could do to stop flames from causing the roof to cave in.

Firefighters faced several challenges in putting out the blaze. The first challenge was they weren't expecting to find a building on fire.  The first response team was a single small fire truck, prepared to put out a small grass fire.

But that small grass fire grew quickly."On the way over here we noticed a lot of black smoke," said Assistant Chief Clyde Weber, Jr., from the Flower Mound Volunteer Fire Department.  "Being first on the scene we noticed that the structure was fully involved."

First the doors collapsed.  Then the roof. The fire also spread to a truck parked behind the barn, destroying it as well. Firefighters worried a strong wind could push the flames back onto the grass and continue to spread."We've got trucks surrounding the building," Weber said.  "They're monitoring the grass and the hay and the building around behind it." The barn was full of hay, and it acted like kindling, so monitoring all the bales inside was very important. 

Even though the firefighters could get the tops of the bales wet, Weber said the bottoms of the bales can stay extremely hot and can reignite. So they had to bring in additional resources."What we're gonna try to do is put foam on it and try to suppress it and then let the foam soak in and possibly put it out," said Weber.

"Normally with hay you have to string out to a thin layer to be able to put it out." Another challenge was the location. The barn is set back a few hundred feet from Bishop Road, so crews couldn't use hydrants.

They had to bring in a tanker truck carrying 6,500 gallons of water to serve as a backup water supply. Assistant Chief Weber said the cause of the fire might be a welding tool, and that the owner of the barn suffered from heat exhaustion.  A woman tried to put out the fire with a garden hose, but suffered burns on her legs and had to go to the hospital.

No firefighters were hurt while fighting the fire, but a Cox's Store fireman was injured shortly afterward. He was refilling a truck with water when the hose disconnected and knocked him off the truck.  He fell about six feet to the ground and landed on his back.

He was taken to the hospital, but there was no word on his injuries as of Saturday night.

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