High Winds Fuel Biggest Fire in Big Spring's Recent History

High Winds Fuel Biggest Fire in Big Spring's Recent History

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING -  A major fire in Big Spring tore into multiple homes, a garage and even a couple of cars. Officials are blaming the wind for igniting the fire to a whole new level.

Multiple units responded to a call at the 1000 block of North Bell around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. Not only did the fire completely obliterate one home, but the gusty winds also caused embers to jump over onto the house next door, sending it ablaze.

Investigators say the fire started in the garage before rapidly taking down the rest of the area.

When NewsWest 9 went to the scene, we came across what would appear to be a giant junkyard of debris. But it was just burnt cars, backpacks, bowling balls, magazines and anything else you can imagine. The smell of smoke was suffocating and some spots were still visibly emanating smoke.  

"I've never seen anything like this in the past ever. Never," neighbor, Lauren Viera, said.

Viera shared a video she had shot during the large fire. A total of 18 units with 38 workers came to the scene, including some volunteer firefighters. She said residents filled the streets to watch it all unfold.

"Everybody was just really scared. I mean there's other houses right around that and they could have easily caught on fire with the high winds we had last night," she said.

But that's why workers evacuated six surrounding houses, basically the entire block, just as a precaution.
"This is not a normal situation. In normal weather conditions, we could have very easily contained this to probably just the garage. But with the winds last night made the destruction so much worse and spread the fire so quickly," Big Spring Fire Chief, Craig Ferguson, said.

Officials say it took an hour to control the fire but they worked overnight to make sure all the hot spots were out. Both families got out well before the fire took over, including the elderly couple in the second house.

"They pulled out their car and they were parked in their car sitting and watching their house burning, just burning," Viera said.

The couple's son had been arrested on scene for interfering with an officer's duty. But neighbors say he was just concerned about getting his parents out safely. There's no word yet on the cause of the fire. All this happened while the city had been placed on water restriction.

The Red Cross is assisting the families, who have been placed in a hotel, while Fire Marshal's are still investigating this case. They're saying it could be "suspicious."