Fire in Kermit Scorches One Business and Vacant Buildings

Photo Courtesy of Chief James Everett with Winkler County EMS
Photo Courtesy of Chief James Everett with Winkler County EMS

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

KERMIT - A Kermit business owner is left sifting through a pile of rubble thanks to the fire that started just after 6:00p.m. on Wednesday.

The blaze took out one business and two vacant buildings.

Billie Sharp, owner of Sharp Advertising Products, thinks the two eyesores next door to her made the situation a lot worse.

"I had just driven into Odessa after taking my daughter to Odessa for her cancer treatment," Sharp said. "A neighbor came across and told me she thought my business was on fire. And sure enough it was."

When she got to her shop, Sharp found some of it standing, but knew it was a total loss.

While she doesn't know what caused the flames, she has an idea of what may have made things worse.

"The abandoned buildings probably were a factor in it," Sharp said. "I've been after the city and the county and tried to contact the lawyer that owns it to see if he could tear them down before we had this tragedy, but sure enough they weren't torn down and then we had the tragedy."

Sharp is upset her concerns were not addressed, but is trying to stay positive.

"They did rescue my black and white old pictures," she said. "Some of them were 90 years old, so I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful nobody was hurt, but I am a little upset that nobody paid no attention to me about these old buildings next to me."

There's no insurance money to rebuild, but Sharp plans to go back to her company's roots. So, she'll run Sharp Advertising Products out of her house, just like she did when she started ten years ago.

No one was in the building during the fire, but the Winkler County EMS chief tells NewsWest 9, one firefighter was injured while dousing the flames.

It happened when part of a building collapsed and fell on the firefighter's leg, but he only had a few bumps and bruises.