December 7, 2022 535 PM
PRESIDIO COUNTY — A fire broke out Tuesday afternoon at a house about 30 miles south of Marfa on U.S. Route 67, leaving the structure decimated, according to Marfa Fire Chief Gary Mitschke.
The call reporting the fire came in at around 3:20 p.m., said Mitsche, and the volunteer fire department was fighting the flames well into the night. Firefighters did not return to Marfa until around 11:30 p.m. The fire seems to have originated in the attic of the old rock and adobe ranch house — by the time the firefighters arrived, it had already spread aggressively.
“By the time we actually arrived out there, half of the house was already involved,” said Mitschke.
The Presidio County Sheriff’s Department had received a call initially, and were on the scene by the time the fire department arrived, along with Customs and Border Protection.
There was a woman in the house at the time the fire broke out, but she had already evacuated by the time help arrived thanks to some passing hunters, said Mitschke. The hunters saw smoke billowing from the house’s roof and went to alert the woman, who got out before the flames could spread.
The department’s ability to fight the fire was complicated by the lack of water access in the fairly remote location, said Mitschke. “We have very limited water,” he said. “There’s not a fire hydrant, so you only have the water you take with you … .we did what we could, but we just couldn’t stop it from spreading.” The fire’s origin point being in the attic also made combatting the flames more difficult, he said.
The structure’s exterior walls remain vertical, said Mitschke, but the interior wood structure and roof are gone. The homeowners likely lost all of their belongings, along with their home.
“It’s probably still smoldering today,” said Mitschke. “The fire was really intense.”
The cause of the fire may have been electrical, said Mitschke, but is ultimately inconclusive.