Grass fire in Southmayd threatens homes; Commissioners vote not to extend burn ban

By: Ryan Loyd Email
By: Ryan Loyd Email

SOUTHMAYD, TX -- Firefighters fought a wildfire that threatened several homes and livestock in southwestern Grayson County Monday morning. They say it was quick thinking that saved property and possibly lives.

The fire at Old Southmayd Road and Highway 56 did threaten homes and livestock at one point. In fact, those who live in the area were out with water hoses trying to protect their property from the flames.

Nick Pellman rushed to call 911 when he saw smoke billowing from Old Southmayd Road threatening live stock and Darla Welch's home.

"I thought it would spread 3 miles in 10 minutes,” Pellman said.

"It started up and within 25 minutes, it came this way."

So did dozens of firefighters, dousing flames and setting up a command center to fight the fire under windy conditions. The wind helped steer the danger away from the Welch's and other neighboring homes.

"I have faith in my fire departments."

That faith today was fueled by a concerned citizen and dedicated firefighters who acted quickly.

"Once again, the task force activated by a single call which brought brush trucks, water, and a command unit," Sherman Fire Chief Jeff Jones said.

No word what started the fire.

It took about a half an hour to get the fire under control. The new Wildfire Task Force was activated, but no word what caused the fire.

Burn ban to expire in Grayson County

Ironically, the fire happened at the exact time Grayson County Commissioners decided not to extend a burn ban that has been in effect for most of 2008.

A unanimous vote by commissioners is required but the vote was split, 2-to-2, meaning the burn ban in Grayson County expires Tuesday.

Fire officials still warn not to take any chances and be very careful when it comes to open flames.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Ralph Location: Denison on Feb 14, 2008 at 11:19 PM
    Is this the same County government that has allowed our 20 yr old jail to deteriorate to the point where it must be replaced by a privately owned rent-a-prison?
  • by Anonymous on Feb 12, 2008 at 08:12 PM
  • by volunteer ff on Feb 12, 2008 at 07:21 PM
    thanks commissioners.remember we are mostly volunteer and we still have to go to work the next day or take off work to save someone or someone's property.i guess if it gets on your property it might make you look at it different.everyone that wants to burn go meet your fire fighters and see what they and thier families face when you burn,your house catches on fire,you get sick, or if you get in a wreck,and remember that they are risking thier life to save yours.
  • by DD Location: Sadler on Feb 12, 2008 at 06:19 PM
    Our Comm. Court doesn't have the political will to require the District Attorney to prosecute outdoor burn ban violations. With no teeth in the ban, why have a burn ban? The ban only stops land clearing by those that would be careful with their burning. Don't get me wrong, the ban needs to be in affect and that 1/4" of rain we got didn't stop the grass fire threat. Spring green-up will help reduce the threat. A large number of grass fires, when it gets this dry, happen accidentally for which there is no "ban"...can I list the automotive catalytic converter or vehicle malfunction, tossed cigarette, cutting and welding, lightning, electrical shorts(re:squirrel in a transformer), electric fencing, glass on a sunny day in an illegal dump...that's just a sample of what can and does occasionally cause grass fires, not to mention outdoor burning. You can ban it, but you can't completely eliminate the grass fire threat. An outdoor burn ban will reduce the threat, but only marginally.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 12, 2008 at 03:14 PM
    Our County commissioners should put the burn ban back in place, however they cant stand up to the citizens that call and complain about wanting to burn off their brush. Even our great county judge likes to burn brush piles. We will need alot more rain than the little shower we have gotten for us to not need the burn ban
  • by Anonymous on Feb 12, 2008 at 01:19 PM
    Just ask j everybody his the Mr.Wizard of Whitesboro.
  • by J Location: Whitesboro on Feb 12, 2008 at 09:30 AM
    Hey Bubba Redneck it's gonna take a great deal of rain to get us out of the situation we're in now.
  • by RC Location: FD on Feb 12, 2008 at 06:17 AM
    Great job ladies and gentelman, this is what it takes for a job well done, TEAMWORK. All parties involved yesterday did an outstanding job of communication, dedication and service to the community. I commend each and everyone of you!!
  • by bubba redneck Location: sherman on Feb 12, 2008 at 06:09 AM
    do you think they looked at the weather report and saw that it was going to rain???
  • by Jim Location: Bells on Feb 12, 2008 at 04:30 AM
    You know, most of the time the burn ban is not lifted until after the rain. I could not imagine this burn ban being lifted before the rain comes just because people have brush that needs to be burned. This was a statement made by one of the commissioners, bad thing is, he used to be a firefighter. We need to take this power out of the hands of the commissioners (which apparently don't care about the safety and well-being of the firefighters and citizens) and give the power to the fire chiefs of Grayson county to place a burn ban on the county. The two commissioners that voted against the burn ban made the poorest judgement that I have seen come out of the commissioners court in a long time. Last week two Texas firefighters were badly burned while fighting a grass fire. People need to think about what could happen before trying to burn off their brush piles and trash. There is NO excuse for being stupid. I would like to thank the county judge for voting to keep the burn ban in place.
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