Texoma fire chief's home lost to flames

By: Kristen Shanahan Email
By: Kristen Shanahan Email

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- The home of a Texoma fire chief burned to the ground this afternoon near Pottsboro destroying not only his house, but killing his two pets.

Firefighters say it is ironic that a man who has spent so much of his life fighting fires lost his own home to flames today. We spoke to Locust Fire Chief Steven Hildebrand who said he was too distraught to do an on camera interview, and area neighbors who described the terrifying sight.

Jean McIntire says in her 35 years of living in Cedar Oak Hills she has never seen a fire like this.

She says when her lights began flickering on and off this afternoon she knew something was wrong.

"There was something popping over there like ammunition and that scared the cat, and that's when I came to the door and saw the fire and smoke," McIntire said.

McIntire says flames stretched as high as the trees as she watched several local fire departments arrive on scene to try and save her neighbor's home.

"How terrible it would be if it was my home because it's bad for anyone to lose their home and their pets," McIntire said.

Preston Fire Chief Allen Vols says by the time crews made it to Chief Hildebrand's house there was no saving the two-story building.

"The best we could do was contain it to this location, and currently I have Pottsboro, Locust, Preston, Gunter and Whitesboro on scene," Vols said.

Hildebrand told us he got the call while he was at work in Sherman and he rushed home to find his house gone, and learned his two dogs had been killed.

Vols says since Cedar Oak Hills is a remote area crews struggled with a lack of water and water pressure. He says about 25 firefighters worked for several hours spraying more than 30,000 gallons of water to contain the blaze.

"The location of the home being in the rural area took a little time for everyone to get here, and once we arrived on scene it was probably 60 to 70 percent gone when we got here," Vols said.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what ignited the flames, but say the fire is not being called suspicious.

McIntire says while she is thankful the fire did not spread to her own home she is also glad no one was hurt.

"My sympathy goes out to my neighbors," McIntire

Vols says no one was home at the time of the fire.

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