2 Payne Springs fires caused by cutting, welding says fire chief
PAYNE SPRINGS, Texas (KLTV) - Two fires in Payne Springs this week were started by unmonitored welding and cutting projects, according to the Fire Rescue Department.
The first fire was on a barge near Ponderosa Drive in the Bonanza Beach subdivision.
The second started on a back deck at a house on Circle Drive in the Spillview Estates subdivision.
Welding and cutting both require powerful tools that generate intense heat on pieces of metal, thus creating a risk for fire. Payne Springs Fire Rescue Chief Adam Robinson says the heat and dry air increase the risk of welding and cutting materials causing fires.
“It’s very common that this could happen on any type of, like, deck or boat dock where you have a lot of cracks, because you can get a hot ember or pieces of hot metal that will fall down in one of those cracks and go unseen for a long time,” he says.
He also advises welding and cutting crews to always have fire spotters while working and make sure they have access to a water source or extinguisher.
“They need to make sure that after they’ve stopped welding, they at least wait 35 minutes to an hour to make sure that there is nothing smoldering,” he concludes.
At both scenes, civilians were able to extinguish part or all the fire before fire crews arrived.
One passerby used a fire extinguisher on the barge fire in Bonanza Beach, but by the time fire rescue arrived, they had to extinguish fire that had spread to a nearby dock.
At the other scene, a sea wall crew working nearby jumped into action and used a garden hose to stop the fire creeping up a deck before it reached the house.
Robinson says the first step to effectively stop a fire is crucial.
“Don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. There’s a lot of times that we’ve come out to scenes where it’s been five or six minutes before someone calls 9-1-1, and they say ‘Oh, I thought I could stop it, but it spread too fast.’ That five or six minutes could be the difference between people losing their houses or not.”
Regardless of whether you think you can stop a fire, the immediate response in any situation should be to call 9-1-1 and then use a water source or extinguisher nearby as long as the fire is small enough to be managed without harming those trying to extinguish it.
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