Utility company truck blamed in 1,000-acre grass fire
Fri, 05 Aug 2011 00:05:26 GMT —
More than 1,000 acres of land are scorched after a massive grass fire swept through the northwestern portion of Hidalgo County on Wednesday.
Authorities sifted through the damage just outside the rural community of San Manuel on Thursday morning.
Investigators told Action 4 News that the blaze was started by a Magic Valley Electric Co-op truck by a crew checking electric polls on Puerto Rico Road.
The charred remains of a large field is a grim reminder of how quickly a fire can spread in extreme dry conditions.
Around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, fire crews from across the Rio Grande Valley were dispatched to FM 1017 and Puerto Rico Road to battle a grass fire.
The fire was spreading too close to a home.
Luckily, firefighters were able to keep the flames at bay but a barn next to the home wasn't so lucky.
San Manuel Volunteer Fire Chief Mingo Hinojosa said he's not sure if charges will be filed against the company who allegedly started the blaze but they are asking for reimbursant for funds used.
Chief Hinojosa said his fire department is strictly volunteer fire department meaning they have to provide their own funding.
Cases like this can put a dent in supplies they've purchased to fight fires.
Hinojosa says none of his team suffered dehydration even though they did all together drank 15 cases of water in just one hour.
A burn ban remains in effect in Hidalgo County.
Those found violating the ban, could face criminal charges.