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Breaking News: Flames engulf vacant Beaumont duplex; juveniles may be involved

BEAUMONT - Breaking news to report tonight. Investigators tell KFDM News juveniles may have been involved in setting a fire that heavily damaged a vacant duplex in the 600 block of Palm, off Highland in south Beaumont. There are no reports of any injuries.

Watch KFDM and stay with for updates.

The fire was reported at about 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Firefighters were able to contain and control the fire within a short period of time.

Investigators are checking reports that juveniles may have been involved in setting the fire, according to information provided to KFDM News by Capt. Brad Penisson with the Beaumont Fire Department.

Investigators haven't determined yet if it's a case of arson.


Coast Guard, local agencies respond to ship grounding off Port Arthur

PORT ARTHUR (From Coast Guard ) — The Coast Guard is working with state and local partners in response to a bulk carrier loaded with sulfur that ran aground in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday, while transiting outbound from Neches Industrial Park.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., watchstanders at the Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Control Port Arthur received a call from the pilot aboard the 615-foot Panamanian-flagged vessel Jian Qiang, stating they ran hard aground approximately 1 mile from the westernmost jetty, outside buoys 33 and 34, in the Gulf of Mexico.

There were no reports of significant damage, injury or pollution discharge.  The Coast Guard is investigating the incident.

The Coast Guard, the Texas General Land Office, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the vessel's owners are working together and providing oversight for the coordination and development of a plan to free the vessel.

"Safety is our primary concern," said Lt. Lynn Buchanan. "Our goal is to continue working with the vessel’s owners and our local agencies to construct and execute a course of action that frees the vessel while maintaining the highest level of safety for the personnel involved and minimizing any potential impact to the environment."

Driver has medical emergency, drives into new HEB store
BEAUMONT  --  Just hours after the new HEB store opened Wednesday for the first time, a driver had a medical emergency and crashed his car into the side of the store.  

Update on 11th Street crime crackdown


The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office is proud to announce progress in the continued efforts to clean up prostitution and drug dealing in the 11th Street-I-10 corridor.

Representatives of the Beaumont Police Department along with District Attorney Bob Wortham and Public Integrity Chief Gary Reaves met with the owners of two of the hotels involved in the arrest of 63 suspects last Wednesday.

The hotel owners have signed guidelines prepared by the District Attorney’s Office outlining their continuing responsibilities to cooperate with law enforcement to curb criminal activity in the area.

The District Attorney’s Office will contact other hotels and businesses in the area to solicit their participation in this cooperative effort. 

Last week’s round-up and the resulting agreement with the hotels is the culmination of months of undercover work by the Beaumont Police Department.

Tyler County Judge issues disaster declaration as evacuation proceeds

WOODVILLE -- Tyler County Judge Jacques L. Blanchette issued a disaster declaration Wednesday afternoon citing imminent threats from conditions created by torrential rainfall over an excessive period of time.

Tyler became the third county in the nine-county Southeast Texas area to declare a disaster following Newton County's declaration last week and Liberty County's declaration today.  Newton County issued a 60-day declaration today from the Commissioners Court.

Earlier the county sheriff called for voluntary evacuations along the Neches River south of Dam B. 

Sheriff Weatherford said the Tyler County Emergency Operations Center was activated Wednesday morning at 8 am.

Sheriff's Office personnel are notifying resident door-to-door in the Barlow Estates and Mr. Neches communities. A temporary shelter has been set up for displaced residents at the Emergency Management office located in Woodville at 201 Veterans Way. 

The sheriff said residents should pay close attention to rising water and seek shelter elsewhere. 

Residents can contact the Tyler County Sheriff's office at 409-283-2172 or the Emergency Management Office at 409-331-0874. If it is an emergency dial 911.

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