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Brush Fire Breaks Out Near I-35E In Dallas, Ellis Counties

By Matt Goodman & Selena Hernandez, CBSDFW.COM
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img 61261 Brush Fire Breaks Out Near I 35E In Dallas, Ellis Counties

A large brush fire near I-35E in Red Oak on June 18, 2011.. (Credit: Ryan Garr)

GLENN HEIGHTS (CBSDFW.COM) – Firefighters contained a brushfire at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday that, at its height, had stretched from southern DeSoto to Waxahachie near Interstate-35E and burned one house in Glenn Heights to the ground.

Multiple fire departments in Dallas and Ellis Counties battled the flames for nearly five hours alongside the Texas Forest Service. The fire was fueled by dry brush and stiff winds and quickly spread from Red Oak to neighboring Dallas County and straight into the Gateway Estates in Glenn Heights.

One home in the 1200 block of Yukon in Glenn Heights burned down and at least two others in Red Oak suffered fire damage. Hundreds of homes were evacuated while the flames charred 280 acres between Ellis and Dallas Counties. The worst damage occurred at the home on Yukon, officials said.

“That was a total loss and there was damage to other homes – but we haven’t been able to complete damage assessment right now,” Red Oak Fire Chief Eric Thompson said. “One of the first things we did was evacuate the residents – and we also shut down the interstate for about an hour.”

At about 4:30 p.m., the Dallas Fire Department requested help from Dallas Area Rapid Transit. DART spokesman Mark Ball said one bus was sent to South Beltline and Interstate 20, which could either be used to offer air-conditioning solace for fire officials or bus residents away from the fire in the case of evacuations.

“If they want more, we will make them available to them, but right now we’re only sending one bus,” he said.

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Ball said that request was rescinded about an hour later.

The Red Cross confirmed teams have been sent to support firefighters. A cooling center will be open at Shields Elementary School at 223 W. Ovilla Road in Glenn Heights for any residents who are evacuated from their homes.

“It is entirely too hot and unsafe for them to be standing outside on the street,” said Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster. “we’re asking those families who have been evacuated to head over to the school, and as soon as the area is safe we want them to be able to get back in.”

Afternoon temperatures reached 104 degrees in the area, and the National Weather Service confirmed wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour, making the flames difficult to fight.

Thompson said two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion. Officials are investigating what caused the fire.

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