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Waco firefighters battle intense DT fire

20-foot flames and thick, black smoke

Friday, March 15, 2013 - 4:17pm

Smoke plumes could be seen for miles in the area.

One person was taken to the hospital and one building is now completely destroyed.

“It was hot. It was hot just standing right there. You don’t see this too often," said Marshall Betts, a bystander watching the fire at a distance.

The Waco Fire Department received a 911 call shortly before 10 A.M.

Vernon Johnson called it in.

"About ten minutes later the trucks arrived," said Johnson. The flames were well above the trees before they got here and started shooting it down.”

Six fire trucks and 26 firefighters arrived to see an old metal shop at South 26th Street and Franklin Avenue billowing with thick, black smoke. The flames rose 20 feet in the air.

“It was wild," said Johnson. It was hot with black smoke. It looked like tires were going up or something.”

The tin-roofed building was filled with old machinery. It was in a frail condition to begin with, so the firefighters had to battle from outside and in the air.

“All structure fires have their own risk. But when you go to an older structure and they’re filled with junk, that increases the fire load. That’s a greater hazard for us. But like I said, it was already in a dilapidated state. So you add fire to the scenario, and now the rest goes up for the guys working the fire," said Don Yeager of Waco F.D.

One man who was working near the building was taken to a local hospital for smoke inhalation. He is believed to be in good condition.

The vacant building is now being deemed a total loss. Waco firefighters will remain onsite throughout the day to check for hotspots. The McLennan Fire Marshal's office will begin its investigation.

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