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Fire destroys bar, home; couple escapes safely

June 14, 2012

Local firefighters responded to a blaze early Wednesday morning that destroyed a Big Spring bar on the city's west side. No injuries were reported.

According to Big Spring Fire Marshal Carl Condray, emergency services received the call shortly before 1 a.m. with emergency personnel responding to the El San Luis Bar, located in the 3800 block of W. Highway 80.

“The call came into dispatch at 12:48 a.m. and firefighters with the Big Spring Fire Department were on the scene moments later,” Condray said. “When they arrived, there was heavy fire in the south end of the building, with the wind coming out of the south and feeding it.

“The owner and his wife live in a residence located in the back of the business. They were both home when the fire started and managed to get out without any injuries.”

Condray said firefighters ran into a problem with the water delivery system near the business, a situation that was thankfully solved with some assistance.

“There was a problem with the hydrant the firefighters needed to use,” Condray said. “At that point they were faced with two options, either hook up to a hydrant across the street (U.S. Highway 80) or one much further down the block. Using a hydrant across Highway 80 would have effectively shut down a major thoroughfare and going further down the block would have had the water lines crossing the railroad tracks.

“The answer to our problem came in the form of the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department, who assisted us on the call. They brought in their tanker, which solved the hydrant problem. Their assistance on the call was a huge help to us.”

Conbdray said the bar was quickly consumed by the flames and firefighters' objective quickly shifted from saving the structure to protecting the nearby businesses.

“It became about containment of the fire because the building was pretty much lost at that point,” Condray said. “There were several nearby buildings, however, that could have easily been threatened by the fire, so the firefighters concentrated on keeping it from spreading.”

The cause of the fire was an electrical problem, most likely with one of the bar's appliances, according to Condray.

“We haven't put a value on the damage at this time, but my understanding is the business owner is submitting it as $70,000 for the property and $60,000 for the contents of the building,” Condray said.

The fire scene was deemed safe at approximately 5 a.m., according to Condray, but a fire unit was left at the scene much of Wednesday afternoon as a precautionary measure.

“When you have a fire like that and the roof collapses on top of the structure, its very hard for the firefighters to get to possible hot spots underneath the rubble,” Condray said. “So, we had a unit stay on the scene until around 3 p.m. just in case there was a flare up. Fires like these can smolder for quite some time.”

Condray confirmed no firefighters or other emergency personnel were injured as a result of the blaze.

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