WD-40 can sparks 3-acre fire in El Ranchito

Cameron County officials said the illegal burning of trash on Thanksgiving Day, sparked a 3-acre fire.

It all happened at about 1 p.m., at a home on the 1200 block of Calle Rancho Grande West in the rural Cameron County community of El Ranchito.

Cameron County Emergency Manager Humberto Barrera tells Action 4 News, not only was the man burning without a permit but he was also burning trash, which is illegal because of the many hazards it poses.

"(It TMs) because of the chemicals, Barrera said. When you think of a bottle of Clorox, when you think of a bottle of anything made of plastic - it's a chemical. Those chemicals go into the air and chemicals can easily find their way to somebody's house that may have respiratory problems."

In a matter of seconds, Barrera said, the trash fire took a dangerous turn.

"The unexpected occurred, Barrera said. A can of WD-40 exploded and that sent a projectile over the fence and started the grass fire. It was 3 acres of fire, and it could've easily destroyed somebody's home or it could've easily killed somebody."

The San Benito Fire Department was able to put out the fire before further damage.

Barrera said the purpose for requiring people to get permits before they burn vegetation, is so that people can get a check list of the do's and don'ts.

It TMs also a way to put fire departments on high alert in case a fire gets out of control.

"When we issue a permit, we not only give you a permit but also a second page, and that second page gives you a lot of details, instructions and tips for making sure that the fire is controlled at all times," Barrera said.

The man allegedly responsible for the fire was cited and will face a judge for punishment.

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