Vernon Fire Chief Chris Cook reported that a state fire investigator looked into fires that swept through downtown Vernon on March 20
, destroying two houses, several outbuilding and burning yards, trees and fences.
Capt. Cook said that the cause of the initial fire was inconclusive.
“It burned so hot and fast that there wasn’t much of anything left,” he said.
The fires that burned further north were caused by the first fire.
There is evidence that embers from the first fire were carried through the air, he said, causing the subsequent fires.
At 5:15 p.m.,Sunday, March 20 the temperature in Vernon hit 83 with sustained winds near 30 mph and gusts approaching 40 mph. Humidity dropped to 12 percent.
At 5:16 p.m., a female caller reported a house was fire in the 1900 block of Houston Street. Wind carried embers on a path to the northwest, catching yards on fire.
A garage door and two wooden fences caught fire. The flames kindled in trees, then were carried two blocks across Wilbarger Street, igniting yards and catching another house on fire –three blocks from the original fire.
Wilbarger Street was closed as first responders tried to stop the spread of flames. Business and home owners sprayed their yards and roofs down to stop the flames.