'Suspicious' grass fire damages homes

September 2, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
High winds caused problems for firefighters working a large grass fire in northwest Harris County on Saturday.

The three-alarm blaze broke out around 9:15am in the 17000 block of Hafer Rd., just south of F.M. 1960.

It took more than 8 hours to get the fire under control.

Firefighters are calling the grass fire suspicious.

The blaze burned at least 35 acres and damaged 13 properties.

Neighbors were concerned the wind could cause the fire to flare up again overnight.

Officials said the flames jumped across a field and destroyed many fences in the nearby Ella Crossings subdivision, coming within a few inches of homes.

You could hear the burning and crackling as this fire spread.

"It was awful. Everybody ran out," Mei Anderson said.

The flames raced across a dry field and were seen shooting at least 40 feet into the air at times, according to eyewitnesses.

"It's just crazy. It's basically like all hell broke loose, basically," Michael Alvarado said.

It was a danger that had dozens of residents in Ella Crossings panicking.

"I'm looking, and I see an orange line from everywhere. I know it was fire by the way it was moving," Beverly Callier said.

That fast-moving fire had the neighbors rushing to save each other and their homes.

"We was just trying to make sure everybody was secure and everything," Mathias Rasberry said.

The dry conditions and strong winds only made things worse for emergency workers and the neighbors they were trying to protect.

The crews had to battle 30mph winds, low humidity and several flare-ups.

Neighbors and firefighters say they're just glad it wasn't worse.

"This is real scary," Callier said. "It's something you see on TV. You know you never thought it would be so close to home. And this is just a little too close for home."

Harris County Fire Marshal investigators are still looking into the cause of this fire.

A lot of people have been complaining about smoke in their homes. The fire chief recommends washing all of your clothing and linens within 38 hours to get rid of that smoky smell.

A second large grass fire burned Saturday in northeast Harris County. Officials said about 50 acres were scorched on Grace Ln. near Barbers Hill in Highlands. No evacuations were ordered and no injuries were reported. The fire was out within a few hours, officials said.

If you have photos and/or video of either of these fires, please send them in to be featured online! You can upload them to iWitness.abc13.com or email them to News@abc13.com.

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