Fires, train derailment keep crews busy
By Kyle Mooty
A train car operated by the BNSF Railway overturn on the 700 block of E. Market Street on Sunday at about 3 p.m., causing repairs that kept road closures from Carver Street to Kennedy Street for much of the week.
The City of Lockhart has asked drivers to seek alternative routes and to be mindful of the repair crews. The cause of the accident is under investigation by Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the tracks where the railcar was overturned.
Meanwhile, local fire departments have spent much of the last two weeks battling blazes that have burned hundreds of acres in the county.
On Friday, exactly one week after the Boggy Creek Fire scorched 228.6 acres just to the west of own when a tractor-trailer overturned on SH 130 causing a grass fire that spread rapidly, another fire began off SH 130, eventually burning 150 acres on what is known as the Barth Fire. That fire also caused minor damage to an unoccupied residence.
According to City of Lockhart Public Information Officer Victoria Maranan, the fire was started accidentally by a city water utility crew making emergency repairs in the area amid hot and dry conditions.
Assisting the Lockhart Fire Department with the Barth Fire were the Texas A&M Forest Service which provided four Fixed Wing aircraft, two Blackhawk helicopters and two dozers; Lockhart Public Works Department; Lockhart Police Department; Caldwell County Emergency Management; Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department; Maxwell VFD; Mid-County VFD, Dale VFD; Travis County ESD #11 Fire Rescue; Texas Infrastructure Mutual Aid System Wildland Strike Team; Starflight; Travis County Wildland Strike Team; Texas Department of Public Safety; and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
“The last couple of weeks have been very busy,” Caldwell County Emergency Management Chief Hector Rangel said Tuesday morning at Commissioners Court. “We have had some major fires.”
Rangel thanked several entities for providing water as well as opening doors for cooling centers.
The Plum Hopper fire burned 200 acres, the Boggy Creek Fire 228.6 acres, the Barth Fire 150 acres, High Mesquite Fire 17 acres, and one off Seawillow Road burned 20 acres.
No injuries from the fire have been reported other than the truck driver whose vehicle started the Boggy Creek receiving burns before being taken to an area hospital.
Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden said at Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting, “Everybody has done a wonderful job. It is a mighty effort. It’s pretty amazing to me that they pull it off every time.”