Suspicious fire erupts at Lakeway Manor

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Photo By Dennis Phillips | Robertson County News
With the gas tank ignited, Joe Templeton of the Hearne VFD along side Alex Neil of the Christoval VFD work to get the blaze under control and protect the surrounding area.

At first, the call appeared a standard fire call out for a truck on fire out at Lakeway Manor. Located in a vacant lot that housed a burned out singlewide trailer, located behind a lot of trees and scrub bushes was a truck, engulfed in flames.

Alex Neil of the Christoval Volunteer Fire Department was first on the scene. Having just finished a three day training course at Texas A&M for TEEX, Neil and his family were heading home. “I spotted the black smoke from about 20 miles away,” said Neil, who donned his gear to pitch in and help. Neil wasted little time in lending a hand, at first to the investigation, then to the extinguishing of the blaze.

“The are looks suspicious,” said Robertson County Constable Benny McRae. McRae, while waiting for the Hearne Fire Department to arrive, spent time investigating the area surrounding the truck. “Things just don’t look right”, said McRae making notes of various items on the lot including a pair of sunglasses that looked to have been recently discarded and a machete knife drove into the ground.

Located just a foot away from the truck, a wood pile, neatly stacked into a bonfire design located close to what appeared to be the origin of the fire. “There’s no hood, license plate, this looks to be intentional,” McRae continued.

While the investigation rolled on, the Hearne Fire Department arrived. Joe Templeton quickly unrolled a hose and along with Neil worked to get the fire under control, but not before the trucks gas tank erupted into a ball of flames that stretched fifty feet into the air in front of the two firefighters.

“We put that out pretty quickly,” said Neil with a big grin on his face after gearing down from the fire. Neil’s wife and daughter were both on the scene to watch Neil hard at work. With not much more than a wave, the Neil family climbed aboard their Fifth Wheel RV and headed back to Christoval, which is located about 20 miles south of San Angelo.

The quick response of the Hearne Fire Department and the Good Samaritan kept the blaze well under control and away from the surrounding homes of the vacant lot. “There is a lot of activity on that lot, said the neighbor next door to the fire. All times of day and night, sometimes they even block the lot with a station wagon.
The fire itself is still under investigation as well as the activities that surround the vacant lot in Lakeway Manor. According to added reports, the truck itself was from Franklin, though the owner was unaware of its location.

On the scene was Hearne VFD, Blackjack VFD, TXDPS, Robertson County Constable Office, Robertson County Sheriff’s Office and the Robertson County EMS.

Dennis Phillips | Robertson County News

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