The Duncan Banner

May 7, 2013

Two structure fires under investigation

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Only days before the City of Duncan’s water rationing goes into effect, the Duncan Fire Department responded to two structure fires at vacant houses.

The two fires started less than an hour apart Saturday night. In all, 12 Duncan firefighters responded around 9:04 p.m. to the first fire at Second and Mulberry, while 11 responded around 9:59 p.m. to the second fire at 400 block of Elm Street.

“Both of them are under investigation,” Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Hammack said. “One of them was a prior scene (of a fire).”

Late Saturday night, Duncan Police Det. John Byers said the fires were being treated as possible arsons because both were unoccupied.

Deputy Fire Chief Dayton Burnside said the investigation is ongoing, and the department is following leads. Burnside said fires about $20,000 worth of damage at each structure. Because the houses were vacant, there was no loss of personal property.

“We had a full response from all stations,” Burnside said. “One crew had to breakout for the other fire.

“We had a good response and a rapid knock down. You want to keep it contained to its origin.”

Although keeping the fires contained to the two houses was the primary concerns of the Fire Department, there have also been concerns about water usage.

The City of Duncan has mandatory rationing set to begin Thursday. Under the rationing, Duncan residents will only be able to do outside watering every other day.

Hammack said the water rationing would not impact the day-to-day operations of the Duncan Fire Department.

“It’s not going to change what we do,” he said. “If there’s savable property, we’ll try to save it.”

In addition to the manpower response, the department also had five units respond to the first fire and three respond to the second fire. Hammack said there were enough people on duty that no one had to be called in.

Hammack said the water units will be kept full of water, regardless of the water rationing, because the department has to be ready to respond if a fire occurs. He said there will be a few differences for things not done on a daily basis.

“We won’t be flowing the hydrants or testing the hoses,” Hammack said.