Local

Evacuees return home after grass fire near IAH

Monday, September 12, 2011
Fire near Bush Intercontinental Airport | photo submitted to iWitness.abc13.com by an anonymous ABC13 viewer. If you see news happening, snap a picture or take a video and upload it, or you can email it to News@abc13.com to be featured online.

Fire crews Monday are working to keep another wildfire in our area from flaring back up. This wildfire scare is near FM 1960 and Birnam Woods in northeast Harris County, not far from Bush Intercontinental Airport.

There were no injuries and no loss of structure. Even with other fires across the state, firefighters told us they've had enough resources to fight this fire, contain it and now keep an eye on it.

As the sun rose, the fire's foggy haze that settled overnight became apparent. Hours earlier, cell phone video sent in by an iWitness viewer shows fire ravaging nearly 100 acres, just north of IAH.

According to officials, an 18-wheeler started the fire when the center of its trailer gave in and dropped on the road. The brakes started scraping against the pavement and sparked the flames.

Eyewitness News rode with the Houston Fire Department as they surveyed the damage. You can see plenty of hot spots still smoldering. And the wind didn't help.

"The fire jumped into here already last night and they were putting out some spot fires. This is what we're trying to protect, this apartment complex," said Chief Bruce Wisniewski with HFD.

Everyone at the Mansions at Turkey Creek apartments were evacuated on Sunday.

"We were able to grab some clothes, our cell phones, our laptops, a couple papers," said 12-year-old Mary Bridgette Gonzalez.

Richard and Teresa Ossa are just returning Monday morning.

"We don't know, safety reasons what's going on, so pretty much we just abided by the rules and got out safely as possible," said Richard Ossa.

The Texas Forestry Service set up a fire break right here, very close to the apartment complex.

"It was close enough that actually I thought it was gonna come through the creek because some trees caught on fire and it really scared me," Gonzalez said.

Fire crews told us they will likely stay out here all day to keep an eye on those hot spots.

Richey Road between FM 1960 and Aldine Westfield will remain closed. Police are diverting traffic onto some of the side streets for the time being.

Firefighters say residents in the area might smell smoke for the next 48 hours.

Airport officials say the haze from the fire isn't affecting any airport travel as of this morning.

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bush intercontinental airport, local, sonia azad
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