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Midway Fire and EMS seeing increase in fires

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Midway Fire and EMS since Saturday afternoon has seen a spike in the number of fires they have responded to, as heavy winds and dry weather increase the risk of fire.

Nathan Fuller, assistant chief with the department on Tuesday said in recent days the department has responded to one vehicle fire, one structure fire and eight grass fires in and around Midway.

Winds and heat have made the situation worse, but Fuller said people throwing cigarette butts from vehicle windows or burning weeds have also had an impact.

Crews in Midway were called at 1:19 a.m. Tuesday to a report of a fire on East Orchard Park Road. Fuller said the blaze burned about 1.5 acres. Residents of a nearby home were forced to evacuate as the flames came within 20 feet of the residence.

Dexter Fire and Rescue, Hagerman Fire/EMS Department, Dexter Police Department and the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the call.

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Fuller said when crews from Midway arrived, the residents of the house were outside seeking to douse the flames with water from both a garden hose and a nearby pool.

Crews were able to put out the fire after about an hour. Though a cause of the fire is not known, Fuller said residents of the house later said they had been burning a pile of weeds the day before and that the controlled burn might not have been completely out.

Midway Fire and EMS also returned to three other fires Tuesday.

One fire was reported at 9:36 a.m., along the road at the intersection of Old Dexter Highway, and spanned about 100 feet. The fire did not consume any structure and a cause has not been determined.

“It could have just been a hot pipe off a car, it could have been someone smoking, there’s no telling,” he said.

Crews also responded to two more calls later Tuesday morning, including a blaze on the median of U.S. Highway 285. The fire that was put out stretched about 25 feet down the median and a cause is not yet known.

One more fire was also reported near Orchard Park at 11:41 a.m. On a Facebook post, Justin Powell, chief of Dexter Fire and EMS, stated fire departments from Midway, Dexter and Hagerman, along with officers from the Dexter Police Department and the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the call.

The fire did burn around an outbuilding leaving some burn scars on it, but the structure was not otherwise damaged. Fuller said some people nearby with fire extinguishers assisted in putting out the fire.

A cause of the fire was not known, but Fuller said some people at the time were outside doing some metal work and they could have been welding or using a torch.

Fuller said the fire departments in Midway, Dexter and Hagerman have been assisting each other in recent days in putting out fires within each of their districts.

Given the temperatures and the winds, Fuller said people need to be extra aware of their actions, especially when working outside, to curtail the risk of fire, especially when burning weeds and other debris.

Controlled burns should be at a safe distance from houses, building structures and vehicles; weeds around houses should be cut and people should keep water close by when a burn is underway, Fuller said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

 

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