Fire Department Battles Large Structure Fire in North San Angelo
Wednesday evening around 5:20 p.m. a structure fire broke out at 3825 Armstrong in north San Angelo. The San Angelo Fire Department responded to the scene with 26 firemen and four trucks and immediately began hosing the two-story house in an attempt to extinguish the engulfing flames.
A retired fireman and neighbor of the enflamed house was on scene and stated he wasn't aware of the cause, but "this is a big fire, though. A big fire." He then sprinted off to help others ready a hose on a truck that had just arrived.
Unconfirmed reports from neighbors say that two children were in the house when the fire broke out, but escaped the house unharmed. The Fire Department was unable to confirm this account, stating only that the house was empty when the men arrived.
Due to the severity of the fire, the FD decided to do a defensive attack, which is reserved for instances when the interior is deemed too dangerous to proceed and the firemen work on calming the flames from the outside instead, Fire Marshal Ross Coleman explained.
"They did a defensive attack on three sides of the structure until they got the fire extinguished," Coleman said.
As hoses pushed gallons of water out at high pressure from the front and both sides, heavy billows of orange-tinged smoke rose into the evening sky.
By 5:49 p.m., the entire house was obscured by smoke. Firemen hosed relentlessly as the flames licked the rooftop and rose toward the sky. From the street before the house, a vail of white shrouded the property and all that was visible were the skeletons of trees.
Fifteen minutes later, at 6:05 p.m., most of the smoke had cleared and the once white two-story home was completely charred with black as smaller flames sprung up from various places in the roof.
The house's right side continually flared up, and bits of roofing had flown off under the pressure of the firefighters. The firemen pulled briefly back, pausing for a moment for breaths of fresh air and a few sips of water before blasting the house again with high-pressured hoses, washing away the accumulated blackness and chipping off the weathered paint.
At around 6:15 p.m., three firefighters approached the door and pushed it open, entering cautiously with headlamps affixed to their helmets. By 6:35, the blaze appeared to be under control. Beams from flashlights could be seen moving about through holes in the roof and soot-covered windows.
Firefighters worked for approximately two and a half hours before the fire subsided and was mostly extinguished. By 6:50 the second story was being hosed from the inside and water could be seen shooting out the right corner. Thirty minutes later, men had started axing down the underside of the front porch overhang as others approched with a hose. A light from the second story window shined on the same area as the stream from the water hoses was directed and smoldering smoke rose up.
Foam had been shot on the still smoldering right-hand corner of the house, and most of the smoke and flames had completely subsided.
Damage to the house was severe, says Coleman, who mentions that the basement was completely flooded and that the structure was severely burned.
"The structure is still in tact, there's a lot of damage, Fire Marshal's Office is on scene and we're going to begin an investigation as soon as we get cleared that we can go back inside," Coleman said." The examination of the structure's going to take some time."
The San Angelo Fire Department won't know the cause of the fire until the investigation is complete, however Coleman says, "There are some indicators about the second floor since that what was showing first...but we'll be looking at the whole thing."
Nobody was injured in the fire.
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