O’Neil explained that a freezer had been pushed against a wall and an extension cord was pinched, causing the wires to short.
Lone Camp, Santo, Brazos, Palo Pinto, Mineral Wells and Lake Palo Pinto volunteer fire departments responded to a fire at the Lone Camp store Monday afternoon.
Firefighters worked to keep flames from a next door home and away from fuel storage tanks behind the store. The old store, reported to have been built in the 1920s, was a complete loss. Highway 4 was closed while departments struggled to get the fire knocked out. Firefighters were at the scene overnight, extinguishing flare ups. More trucks returned to the scene Tuesday morning.
Santo volunteer firefighter Stephen Tanner said he and Morgan Johnson were the first to make entry into the building.
“We entered through the south door,” Tanner said. “We took a step in and went down to one knee.”
He said it was black inside. Directly ahead was the cash register, to the right chips and candy.
“There was a red glow to the front and to the right,” he continued. “He sprayed (water) forward. I told him spray right, spray right.
“Immediately, it flashed on us.”
That flash of flame from the southeast corner of the room went over them.
“I grabbed him by the collar and spun him around. He went out first and I was right behind him.”
Palo Pinto County Fire Marshal Larry O'Neil said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
“We are looking at possible electrical-mechanical causes,” he said, explaining that an electrical panel was being closely examined.
The fire consumed the east end of the building first. O'Neil explained that cured cedar was used in that part of the building.
“It consumed that stuff quickly,” O'Neil said of the flames.
Fire then worked its way back toward the fuel tanks, breaching the roof at one point.
“Fire is crazy, that's for sure,” Tanner said.