Newton area fire departments spend Christmas Eve busy - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Newton area fire departments spend Christmas Eve putting out four separate fires

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

NEWTON, TX (KTRE)- Four different Newton area fire departments spent their Christmas Eve putting out three fires within Newton city limits and one in Newton county. All four happened within a six hour span, and no one was injured.

The first fire was reported at 3:30 p.m. on loop 505 and County Road 4001. An abandoned building, which for years was the Old Commissary, was destroyed. Although kids were seen playing there earlier, the cause is still under investigation. There were reports of someone seen allegedly running away shortly after the building was set on fire. Fortunately, nobody was inside.

On the same side of the street, just down the road, a residence owned by Robert Williams caught on fire.  Nobody was home at the time, and the cause is under investigation. This fire started at around 10:30 p.m.

Newton Fire Chief Ronnie Cochran said a third fire was reported on Weiss and Rusk at around 7 p.m. Ricky Simmons II owned the business. Nobody was inside at the time, and officials believe the fire may have started as a result of a faulty heating unit. Simmons had left the heat on when he went to check on the building earlier that morning. The fire department said they had a difficult time putting the flames out because of the multi-layered roof.

The fourth fire taking place outside city limits occurred at around 4 p.m. on 87 south, three and a half miles outside of town.  This was a residence owned by Charlotte Adney of Woodville. Cochran said the house has been up for sale for about two years, and was empty at the time of the fire. Officials say someone was also allegedly spotted running from the burning residence. Fire marshals will be investigating leads.

Cochran said it was very difficult putting all the fires out in one night. They had help from Burkeville, Trout Creek and Bon Wier Volunteer Fire departments.

"It was like a really helpless feeling. Not enough water, not enough equipment. It was a nightmare," said Cochran.

Fire marshals will begin investigating all four fires next week.

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