Pilot Point fire wrecks renovation
By Abigail Allen
Members of the Pilot Point Fire Department, with the help of the Aubrey Fire Department, contained a blaze that ignited Tuesday afternoon on the Pilot Point Square.
Several downtown business owners called 911 when they noticed the fire inside the Jefferson Street building being renovated to house Sarah Boyd & Company, which appears to have been an accidental fire.
“My best [estimate] at the cause is the window was a magnifying glass,” PPFD Assistant Chief Bryan Cox said. “… Everything in that corner was cardboard and that kind of stuff, so the sun in the window just right [caused it to combust].”
Alex Lunsford of the Square Center saw renovation materials near the window while walking by, his father and Square Center owner Cliff Lunsford said while standing in front of the scene.
“It had two big explosions after it got rolling pretty good,” Cliff said. “That was the [paint] cans exploding. We thought we were going to kick the door or something, but then those popped, and we just got … out of the way.”
Allison Martin, the owner of the Martin General Store, called Sarah Boyd in hopes the fire department could use a key to enter the building and contain the fire that started near one of the two plate glass storefront windows.
When Cox was informed the key on site could only open the back door, he sprang into action, shattering the window with an ax.
Within two to three minutes of entry, the fire was contained and extinguished.
The owners told the PPFD that the team renovating the building had not been there on Tuesday.
Even after the fire was extinguished, black smoke billowed from the building.
“Those are tall, empty buildings, so there’s a lot of smoke above the window that we’ve got to get down,” Cox said.
The smoke seemed to have largely affected only the building that caught on fire.
Overall, the damage was contained and minimal because of the quick action of the two departments.
Whether it’s a west-facing window in a building or a water bottle in a vehicle, items that can concentrate and magnify the sunlight
can start a fire.
“You always want to be careful when you’re storing your construction materials,” Cox said. “Given this time of year and given this unique circumstance—something to take into consideration. Don’t leave eyeglasses lying on the dash of your truck. A water bottle, if the sun is just right, it will ignite stuff in your car. It truly is just one of those freak occurrences.”
Martin brought drinks to the first responders on the scene, which also included the Pilot Point Police Department as well as the Pilot Point Public Works Department.
“Thank you to the citizens who reported the fire before it got larger and allowed for the Pilot Point Fire Department to put it out in short order,” the PPPD said in a social media post. “Also, thanks to the Aubrey Fire Department for their assistance and Martin
General Store for bringing the first responders some cold drinks!”