Hundreds of Acres Destroyed in Blaze - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

06/13/06 - Weldon

Hundreds of Acres Destroyed in Blaze

by Jessica Cervantez

More than 250 acres burned in East Texas. It happened in the small community of Weldon in Houston County, and authorities believe arson is to blame. At this hour, the fire is being called contained, but still not fully controlled.

Firefighters are still concerned the dry conditions could cause the fire to start up again. The fire destroyed 253 acres of pine plantation and pasture land on private property. The Texas Forest Service joined several volunteer fire departments to put out the flames.

Mahlon Hammetter, with the forest service, said, "The crews were working all night long, and then they came back there this morning."

The crews were able to save two nearby homes, but a barn and some tractor equipment was destroyed. Investigators believe arson caused the fire.

Hammetter said, "There was some evidence at the location of the fire to give them cause that it was arson."

Only about a hundred people live in the small East Texas community of Weldon, near Lovelady. Resident hope whoever started the fire gets caught. But while the investigation continues, firefighters continue watching the area closely, because drought conditions could cause the flames to spark up again.

Hammetter said, "Very definitely the woods are dry right now, the only thing we didn't have was the wind, thank goodness."

If the arsonist is caught they could face up to 20-years in prison and be fined as much as $10-thousand.
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