San Angelo firefighters responded to a call of a structure fire at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on the 3400 block of South Chadbourne Street and worked to contain a blaze coming from a warehouse full of Coastal Bend hay.
The barn, located near Mendez Cafe, was producing heavy smoke and flames when the San Angelo Fire Department arrived.
“At that time, we called for a plug – a hydrant – for big water because we knew it was going to be a big fire.” said Scott Farris, SAFD chief of operations.
Farris said the structure was a warehouse full of hay and he was told that it was about three-quarters full.
“At this point, it will probably be a total loss.” Farris said.
He said the department was bringing excavators on site to start digging to put out the major portion of the fire so it did not continue to hamper the systems with smoke at the scene.
Farris pointed out that instead of straight water being used to extinguish the flames, a soap mixture was being utilized to help firefighters.
“We have a little bit of soap mixture to our water so it infiltrates the hay a little bit better and gets down there into the crevices better than just regular water,” he said. “You’ll see the white, foamy substance is the soap mixture we use.”
No one was in building at the time of the fire, he said, and no was operating around the building. The cause of the fire remains under investigation though at the scene, Farris said there was no reason to suspect arson at the moment. No point of origin had been determined yet.
In all 22 firefighters responded to the fire, along with four pumper trucks, one ladder truck and a rescue vehicle. Four command staff were on site with an additional three support staff who replaced equipment as needed by the firefighters.
Mendez Cafe was without power but Farris said there was no damage to the building or the interior. He expected the cafe would be back to business rather quickly.
Farris believes the better part of the rest of the day will be spent making sure the fire is extinguished completely and trying to determine the cause. A press release will be sent by the SAFD via the City of San Angelo Public Information Office as soon as more information becomes available.