Ruined: Vacant building burns beyond repair, causes road closures

By Rebecca Flannery
Staff Writer

Greg Bridges ran into his deceased grandmothers house at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when he saw smoke rising from the vacant two-story building on 11th Street and Waco Drive.

“I was sitting in my car when I saw it,” Bridges said. “I ran in the back, add-on room we built on the house and saw the fire on the ground. It spread under the bed and then up the wall.”

After Bridges ran out of the house at the suggestion of his mother standing outside, the two 10 foot-wide windows busted out of the back room.

“It started out as gray smoke, then after a boom, black smoke started billowing out of the house,” said James Bishop, a worker at Chapman’s food mart on the corner of 12th Street and Waco Drive.

Bishop said he called the Waco Police Department around 3:40 p.m. when he saw smoke.

“There are always homeless people hanging around outside those houses,” Bishop said. “They’ve been empty for a while, there’s no gas or electricity hooked up to it.”

At the scene, fire fighters were containing the incident to the single house while spraying surrounding trees and houses to keep them from catching fire and putting out mild grass fires. Fire engines began leaving the scene around 4:45 p.m.

The police department directed traffic around the house.

The Waco Fire Department said the cause of the fire is unknown and will be further investigated.