Weary volunteers battle to control Navarro wildfires

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on September 4, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 5 at 12:42 PM

Navarro, Texas

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NAVARRO, Texas — As the sun set over Navarro County Sunday evening, clouds of black smoke lingered and flames covered the ground.

It was a day firefighters here will not soon forget.

Strong winds whipped ten fires across the county, from Corsicana to Navarro.

"It's definitely the worst I've ever seen," said Navarro Volunteer Fire Department Assitant Chief Bruce Adams, who called for evacuations after a grass fire on Highway 287 in Mildred starting heading toward the town of Navarro.

"It was in everybody's backyard," Adams said. "It just came so fast, so quick."

The fire was moving so fast that flames leaped across railroad tracks and a road.

"The flames were jumping across the road," said Navarro evacuee James MineFee. "The truck before us, I had to stop because you could barely see."

A train trestle caught fire around 5 p.m. Thursday, burning out of control. It was still burning more than five hours later.

In nearby Corsicana, people picked up water hoses while keeping an eye on two big fires creeping closer to homes and businesses.

After hours on the fire lines, crews finally got the upper hand and families from the town of Navarro got the all-clear to go home.

The town was saved.

"Navarro's still here, our little community — I love it," Adams said. "We were just luckily blessed today."

The cause of all the fires in Navarro County remained under investigation, but it's believed that the fire that consumed acres near Mildred and Navarro was caused by a fault at an electrical substation.

Firefighters expected to remain on duty through the night to keep an eye on hot spots.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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