HOUSTON – Winds fanned a noon-time fire into one of the hottest blazes local firefighters can remember in some time.
The fire was reported at at 687 Pontotoc Street at 11:18 a.m. Thursday with firefighters bringing the blaze under control about 1:45 p.m. and staying on the scene until 2:55 p.m. overhauling the structure and wetting down hotspots.
“We were told the house was built out of pine in about the ’40s and it had a brick exterior,” said Houston Fire Captain Jonathan Blankenship. “The brick helped hold the heat and when the fire got in the attic, burned through the roof and the wind caught it, there wasn’t much we could do.”
Blankenship said firefighters arrived on the scene and found the west end carport fully engulfed in flame. Tires on a pickup truck in the carport were exploding as the first team on the scene hosed down the house.
“When the fire got in the attic it made it very dangerous for us to enter the house,” said Blankenship. “As hot and aggressive as that fire was I don’t think there was anyway we could have saved that home.”
Blankenship said an exact cause has not been determined. The house was owned by Jess Ellard and was insured.
“The house was semi-occupied and the owner had cut the yard that day,” said Blankenship. “It was one of the nicer homes in the neighborhood.”
Blankenship said smoke from the blaze could be seen over most of Houston and as far away as WCPC Radio Station.
“It was a hot summer day and that was one of the hottest fires we’ve fought in some time,” said Blankenship. “It took the strength out of a lot of our volunteers. I want to thank people in the neighborhood who brought us ice-water.”
Blankenship said seven volunteers from the Houston Fire Department, two pumpers and the brush truck responded to the blaze. Thorn Volunteer Fire Department responded with a pumper and volunteers from Rhodes Chapel also helped fight the fire.
This is the fourth major fire in Houston in four months. The Houston Fire Department responded to a fire on Tindall Circle in March and fires at Aaron’s Cleaner downtown and on County Road 31 in April.