Railroad tie fire

New Braunfels firefighters, currently working a brush fire south of the city that has charred dozens of acres, have contained the blaze but are letting the fire burn itself out over the next few hours.

The Comal County Fire Marshal’s Office is now in charge of investigating the cause of Monday’s brush fire that charred dozens of acres southwest of downtown New Braunfels.

David Ferguson, city communications coordinator, said New Braunfels police and fire units were alerted to a lot in the 500 block of Strateman Lane and Rusch Lane, both off Farm-to-Market Road 482, around 1:40 p.m. Monday.

“It started out as a brush fire and extended into an area containing railroad (track) ties,” Ferguson said around 3 p.m., adding “a pretty good column of smoke” rising into the air and visible enough to slow traffic on Interstate 35.

Light winds turned a controlled burn into a blaze that spread quickly to dozens of upright railroad ties and shed in the middle of an open field. Firefighters and the property owner, who used a bulldozer to trench around the fire, prevented the blaze from spreading further.

“What we had was a bunch of old ties and what looked to be old telephone poles that caught fire and we didn’t have the water that far out into the county to effectively put it out,” NBFD Battalion Chief Rick Edwards said. “We just decided to let it burn itself out, which is what it did.”

NBFD canceled mutual aid requests to Bracken Volunteer Fire Department, Canyon Lake Fire and EMS and Schertz Fire Department. Edwards said the fire was out by 6 p.m., and the landowner planned to monitor the smoldering beams throughout the night.

“The fire is out and there’s no chance of it going anywhere,” Edwards added. “It was contained to one property, and actually only one part of that property.”

No information was available on the exact size of the scarring, or monetary damage estimates. That will be handled by the county fire marshal, as it occurred in an unincorporated area outside of city limits.

“It will be up to the county to determine the actual cause,” Edwards said.

Comal County canceled its most recent burn ban in early October. The county’s Keetch-Bynum Drought Index, which assigns points for each inch of estimated dry soil depth, averaged 198 points Monday — well below the 500-point threshold required for calling burn bans.

No injuries were reported. Edwards said 11 firefighters were dispatched originally and five stayed to help the owner monitor remnants of the blaze.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.