Wildfire rages south of Lockhart
By LPR Staff
What began as a routine training exercise turned into a disaster at the Lockhart Police Department Firing Range on Friday.
Due in large part to winds in excess of 30 miles per hour and excessively dry conditions, a tear-gas grenade sparked a grass fire that chewed through nearly 62 acres south of Lockhart.
g to Lockhart Fire Marshal Mark Baker, a private security company was undergoing a routine training exercise when the grenades were deployed. Two apparently functioned properly. The third, it appears, malfunctioned in some way.
Witnesses say that the fire was nearly under control when the Lockhart Fire Department arrived. However, stiff north winds and dry grass quickly blew the fire southward toward Robin Ranch Road. Within a short period of time, the Pegasus School, located on Robin Ranch Road, was evacuated for fear that the fire might endanger the school and students.
Resources from across the state flooded in to assist local fire departments in battling the blaze.
The Texas Forest Service provided bulldozers to cut around the fire, as well as one helicopter to drop water from the sky.
Two Blackhawk helicopters were called from Fort Hood, relieving the Texas Forest Service and taking over the air assault.
After more than three hours and cooperative ground efforts from nearly every professional and volunteer fire department in Caldwell County, the blaze was brought under control. Baker said no firefighters were injured, but one individual was transported to the hospital because of exposure to the smoke.
Pillars of tires lining the firing range created clouds of black smoke visible for miles. The tires continued to smolder as late as Tuesday afternoon.
Lockhart Fire Chief Jerry Doyle said the incident is still under investigation. However, he urged citizens to remember that, despite slight rainfall this week, wildfire danger remains extremely high.