Forecast more >
A weak surge of cooler air is working into our area from the northeast with lows expected to fall into the lower 50's in most areas by daybreak. Dry weather should continue this weekend with a slow warming trend.
Winds contribute to Lumberton house fire
LUMBERTON - by Lauren Huet
Strong winds and dry conditions contributed to a fire that destroyed a Lumberton woman's home Tuesday morning. Southeast Texas was under a wind advisory until 3 p.m. Tuesday, and firefighters dealt with winds gusting from 20 to 30 miles per hour. Despite the wind, first responders stopped the fire from spreading to other homes.
Ashley Salyer was driving to pick her step-daughter up from school when she saw smoke.
"And I saw what I assumed to be the owner standing outside in a towel, so I stopped to make sure she was okay because nobody was on the scene yet," said Salyer. "And she was hysterical, obviously, because her animals were still inside."
Firefighters say the home owner's daughter was home when the fire started. She got out and called the fire department.
"And then the other house over here started to catch on fire," said Salyer. "The yard and then the roof started to catch on fire, but they were able to get that out with a water hose."
Lumberton Fire Chief Bob Simonson says when firefighters arrived, they faced winds gusting more than 20 miles per hour.
"The way the wind was blowing, as a matter of fact, you can see it started a few grass fires across the street from the flying embers," said Chief Simonson. "And the radiant heat when we first pulled up was substantial enough to melt the mailbox across the street. So it was definitely a large amount of fire when we first pulled up."
One firefighter suffered first degree burns to his shoulder while battling the fire.
"We had one of our firefighters that was on the inside, and he got a first degree burn on his shoulder, radiated heat through his gear. He was able to return back to duty and he continued to fight the fire after we made sure it wasn't more serious than that," said Chief Simonson.
Firefighters say the homeowner's cat was inside the home and is missing. Salyer says she feels for the family.
"When somebody is going through a hard time, how can you not want to help them?" said Salyer. "You have a woman standing outside watching all of her things in flames with a towel, and also her animals were inside."
Firefighters say the other pets are okay.
Viewer photos courtesy of Connie Perkins.