By Jonathon Platt
Web and Social Media Editor
UPDATED: 12:30 a.m. March 26, 2015
A two-story Waco home collapsed after fire engulfed it around 3 p.m. Wednesday in the 500 block of 11 Street. Fire officials were quick to respond to the incident, neighbors said.
One firefighter received minor burns to his scalp at the scene, said assistant Waco fire chief Chris Pechacek. He was treated by emergency medical responders, who arrived on the scene around 3:50 p.m.
The firefighter was walking around and holding his head before being transferred to Providence Hospital by ambulance for a routine inspection.
Fire crews also responded to fires around 1:45 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday at the 2100 block of Lasker Avenue and 2200 block of Austin Avenue respectively, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.
The home on 11th Street is two lots over from a vacant and damaged house that sustained significant fire damage in August.
Harold Brown, a neighbor of the 11th Street home, said the house appeared condemned and vacant. This would make it the sixth fire in four days of an uninhabited home. Neighbors and bystanders said they were suspicious that the fires are connected.
“Suspicious is kind of a relative term,” Pechacek said. “Everything is suspicious to us until we can prove otherwise.”
However, he said no connection directly relates the recent fires.
The Tribune-Herald also reported that fires occurred around 11:30 a.m. Sunday at a vacant home in the 800 block of N. 30th Street, at 12:50 p.m. Sunday in the 2100 block of Colcord Avenue and at 3 a.m. Monday in the 1300 block of Tabor Street.
Concerning the Wednesday afternoon. fire, Pechacek said Waco firefighters contained and extinguished most of the flames in approximately 15 minutes. However, he said the fire completely consumed the 11th Street home and that it collapsed on itself.
Smoke from the incinerated home could be seen from campus.
“I saw it from on top of a parking garage,” said San Antonio freshman Sam Park. “Big flames were shooting out and I could see black smoke from campus. There was smoke all down Eleventh Street.”
Waco fire officials said in order to utilize the maximum number of available fire hydrants, they closed Waco Drive at the intersection of 11th Street and Jefferson Avenue at the intersection with the same street. The 500 block of 11th Street was also shut down to traffic.
Large red and green hoses were strung down 11th Street to supply firefighters on the ground and above the structure in a ladder bucket.
Waco Fire Department equipment engineer Nick Norse said the block was closed to keep drivers from damaging the hoses, which could hinder firefighter from properly performing their duty and put them in danger.
Power to hanging electrical lines was cut around 3:45 by officials. Pachacek said he was not sure if the lines connected to the house at 528 N. 11th St.
Normal traffic flow was restored on Waco Drive at approximately 3:45 p.m.
When asked if the fire department was being overextended with the recent influx of home fires, Pachacek said he did not see the increase of work as a concern.
“We plan for a fire,” he said. “That’s what we do.”
Pechacek said the fire is under investigation by the Waco Fire Marshal, the Tribune-Herald reported that the previous fires are also still under investigation.