Fire destroys home near Park Springs


By Richard Greene
rgreene@wcmessenger.com

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On a brutally cold morning, a man lost his home and three dogs in a fire near the Wise and Montague county line Sunday.

Alvord, Chico and Crafton firefighters battled the blaze off County Road 1792 near Park Springs with temperatures in the mid 20s and the wind chill in the low teens.

“I’ve lost everything I own in the world,” said homeowner Charles Montgomery. “I didn’t even get my glasses. Within seconds, the whole house was full of smoke.”

Montgomery, who lived in the 1,200-square-foot residence built in 1903 for more than 20 years, said the fire started in the back room where he had a fire going in a wood-burning stove shortly before 9 a.m.

“I was in the living room. I heard it popping and went to the back of the house,” Montgomery said. “The house filled with black smoke within seconds.

“It was an old wood house and I found out it was a pure tinderbox.”

Seven of Montgomery’s 10 chiweenies made it out of the house.

“Three are not here,” said Montgomery sitting in his truck. “The smoke must have got them.”

Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said the Red Cross was called to help Montgomery.

“He lost everything and didn’t have insurance,” Beard said.

Beard confirmed Montgomery’s thoughts on the origin of the fire.

“It definitely was from the wood-burning stove in the back,” Beard said. “It started in the attic space. Once it got up there especially with the north wind, it took off. The wind just fueled it.”

Winds were gusting out of the northwest to 22 mph at the Decatur Municipal Airport at the time of the blaze.

At 12:30 p.m., firefighters remained on scene overhauling the property.

“They will do a little more overhaul. It’ll smolder the rest of the day,” Beard said.

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Breaking: Mobile home catches fire on County Road 2320


The Decatur, Greenwood Slidell and Krum fire departments responded to a mobile home fire in the 2000 block of County Road 2320 in Decatur after the mobile home became engulfed in flames around 2:30 a.m Friday.

The residents of the mobile home were not on the property at the time of the fire, which destroyed the entire home and was not put out until around 3:20 a.m.

Deputy Wise County Fire Marshal J.C. Travis said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Greenwood Slidell firefighters extinguish the remains of a mobile home fire this morning on County Road 2320. Messenger photo by Jake Harris.

Greenwood Slidell firefighters extinguish the remains of a mobile home fire Friday morning on County Road 2320. Messenger photo by Jake Harris.

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Breaking: Two suspects apprehended in Bridgeport grocery store robbery


Update: According to a statement Bridgeport Assistant Chief Steve Stanford released on the Bridgeport Police Department’s Facebook page Christmas morning, two other people were arrested in addition to the two robbery suspects. During the search of the suspects’ hideout on Crittendon Street, “various narcotics” were also seized along with the firearms that are believed to have been used in the robbery.
“Thanks to our partnership with the community and some great police work, these suspects will be spending their Christmas morning in the Wise County Jail. Merry Christmas!” Stanford wrote.

Two males who are believed to have robbed the West Side Grocery store and gas station in Bridgeport at gunpoint Christmas Eve have been apprehended by Bridgeport police.

Police Chief Randy Singleton said that around 10 p.m. Wednesday, two masked men entered the store brandishing handguns and stole the store’s cash register and a case of beer. 

“All they said was, ‘Give us the money!’ over and over,” Singleton said, recounting footage of the incident he saw from the store’s security footage.

“One suspect robbed the cashier, who slowly took the cash tray out of the register and put it on the counter, while the other suspect stole the beer and kept a lookout,” Singleton said.

The two suspects fled the scene on foot, but were found hiding out behind a house in the 700 block of Crittendon Street less than an hour later.

“I’m assuming they knew the people who lived [at that house], but it’s not for certain yet,” Singleton said. “We’re treating that house as another crime scene for now.”

“At least one gun and some other evidence of the crime” was found where the suspects were hiding, Singleton said.

The two suspects’ names are not available at this time.

The three cashiers who were working at the store at the time of the robbery declined to comment on the incident.

This story is ongoing. Check back with the Messenger for more details.

This snapshot of footage from the West Side Grocery's security camera shows the two men who robbed the store. The first suspect to enter robbed the cashier, while the second one stole the beer, according to Police Chief Randy Singleton. Photo courtesy of the West Side Grocery store.

This snapshot of footage from the West Side Grocery’s security camera shows the two men who robbed the store.
The first suspect to enter robbed the cashier, while the second one stole the beer, according to Police Chief Randy Singleton.
Photo courtesy of the West Side Grocery store.

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Breaking News: FM 51 South wreck slows traffic for an hour


Traffic slowed down at the intersection of Farm to Market Road 51 South and County Road 3170 from 6 p.m. to around 7 p.m. tonight after a Toyota Camry struck an 18-wheeler trying to turn north onto FM 51.

Texas State Trooper Patrick Alonzo said the accident was likely caused by the Camry driver’s failure to drive without using headlights and that the Department of Public Safety would investigate further.

Only minor injuries were reported. The Camry driver, Kristol Read Rogers of Decatur, refused any medical treatment. The 18-wheeler’s driver, William Howard Grandon of Chico, reported no injuries.

Wise County medics, the Decatur Fire Department and Texas DPS were called to the accident, which was toned out around 6 p.m.

Messenger photo by Jake Harris.

Messenger photo by Jake Harris.

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1 killed in fiery crash on U.S. 380


One person died in a fiery crash on U.S. 380 east of Decatur just before 8 p.m. Wednesday night.

DPS Trooper Adam Lawson said a passenger car was traveling westbound on 380, just west of the Highland Hills subdivision, when it left the roadway to the north and ran through a fence. He said it appears the car then veered back through the fence to the south and then went through the fence again to the north.

The car hit the edge of a ravine, went airborne, slammed into a tree and burst into flames. Lawson said the car was destroyed, and it was impossible to visually determine if the driver was male or female. There were no passengers in the car.

The crash occurred about a quarter mile away from where the vehicle first left the roadway. The accident is still under investigation, and more information will be posted as it’s available. Lawson was uncertain how long it would take to ID the driver.

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Names of wreck victims released


Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The identities of the pickup driver and passenger in Friday night’s head-on collision on Farm Road 51 South have been released.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Adam Lawson said the driver was Lynis Parris of De Leon. Parris had minor injuries but was kept overnight at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur, according to Lawson.

The trooper said Parris’ passenger was Clara Quesnot, also of De Leon. She’s listed in stable condition at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. She and Parris were injured when their pickup hit a Toyota Camry traveling northbound on 51 between Farm Roads 2123 and 2048. The Camry was a marked WBAP car.

WBAP released the name of its injured reporter — Alan Scaia — earlier in the day Saturday. News director Rick Hadley told the Messenger Saturday night that Scaia had been upgraded from critical to serious condition at JPS. Scaia, 33, lives in Fort Worth.

 

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Teen suffers head injury in crash


Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

A Rhome teenager suffered a massive head injury in a two-vehicle accident on U.S. 81/287 south of Decatur Saturday afternoon.

Darren Rowe, 18, and a friend had stopped in the 287 crossover, just south of County Road 4421, about 11:50 a.m. and were talking. A third vehicle approached the crossover and honked at the other two vehicles so it could get through.  Trooper Beau Bridgeman, with the Department of Public Safety, said Rowe pulled his Dodge Durango too far out and into the left lane of southbound 287.

Rowe’s vehicle was struck by a Straight Arrow Transport 18-wheeler. It was driven by Gerald Gordon, 44, of Centerfield, Utah, and he was hauling crushed cars. Gordon had two dogs in the truck with him, but neither he nor the animals were injured.

The 18-wheeler pushed the Durango across the southbound lanes of traffic, and both vehicles came to rest on the west side of the road. Rowe had been pushed to the back of the SUV. He was flown by Air Evac Lifeteam 68 to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Both southbound lanes of 287 were shut down for an hour, and traffic was backed up for miles. One lane was re-opened at 12:45 p.m.

 

 

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WBAP confirms identity of reporter in wreck


Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

WBAP radio posted a story Saturday morning confirming the identity of its reporter — Alan Scaia — who was involved in Friday night’s head-on collision in Wise County.

News director Rick Hadley told the Messenger Scaia is in critical, but stable condition at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. He was flown there by Air Evac Lifeteam 68 after his Toyota Camry was hit by a Ford F250 pickup on Farm Road 51 South near Farm Road 2048.

The driver of the pickup was transported to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur, but the passenger in the pickup was flown to JPS by a PHI helicopter.

Trooper Adam Lawson, with the Department of Public Safety, will likely release the names of the pickup driver and the passenger later today. The accident occurred last night about 7:45 p.m., and the roadway was shut down for more than an hour.

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Two flown to JPS after head-on collision


Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Two people were flown to a Fort Worth hospital Friday night following a head-on collision on Farm Road 51 South between FM 2123 and FM 2048.

A silver Ford F250 pickup was traveling southbound on 51 about 7:45 p.m. when the driver took evasive action to avoid a car in front of it. Department of Public Safety Trooper Adam Lawson said it was unclear why the pickup was trying to avoid the car, but while trying to avoid that vehicle, the pickup veered into the northbound lanes where it hit a Toyota Camry.

The Camry was a marked WBAP radio car. The two vehicles had a head-on collision on the shoulder of the northbound lanes.

The driver of the Camry was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth by Air Evac Lifeteam 68 with critical injuries. The passenger in the pickup was also flown to JPS by a PHI helicopter.

The driver of the pickup was taken by ground ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

As of 9:30 p.m., Trooper Lawson had not released the names of those involved because he was unsure of their conditions.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

 

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Alvord wreck victim identified


The Texas Department of Public Safety has released the name of the driver who was killed in the accident Tuesday night near Alvord. Sonia Bullard, 40, of Big Spring was killed when she drove her car southbound in the northbound lanes of U.S. 81/287 and struck another car driven by Mari Proctor, 22, of Sunset head-on. Bullard died at the scene, and Proctor was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth with serious injuries. The cause of the wreck is still under investigation, and it is not known why Bullard was driving the wrong way. The accident happened just south of the Navigator Truck Stop at 6:48 p.m.

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Wrong way driver killed in 81/287 wreck


_JDS7860The driver of a passenger car headed southbound in the northbound lanes of U.S. 81/287 just south of Alvord Tuesday night was killed after colliding with another passenger car. Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper said a  young female driving a red Chevy Cavelier was headed the wrong way when she struck a northbound red Dodge Challenger. The driver of the Challenger was seriously injured and flown from the scene to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. The other driver was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Craig Johnson. A second crash immediately followed the initial crash. An 18-wheeler who saw the initial crash slammed on his brakes and came to a stop. The truck was struck from behind by a gray passenger car. That car’s driver was also taken by ground ambulance to a local hospital. The driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured. No names of those involved were released. The wreck shut down the northbound lanes of U.S. 81/287 completely for more than an hour and then reduced to one lane for another hour as the wreck was cleared. More information will be posted as it is available.

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Water to be shut off in Bridgeport Wednesday morning


The City of Bridgeport announced Tuesday afternoon that water will be shut off in the city 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday for a maintenance issue. More information will be posted as it is available.

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Water service restored in Bridgeport


The water was turned back on in Bridgeport between 8 and 8:15 p.m. Monday after a water leak was repaired, according to city spokesperson Tiffany Evans.

Water was shut off about 5 p.m. to make the repair at 16th and Irvine streets. More information about what caused the leak and the work required to repair it will be posted as it’s available.

 

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Water to be shut off in Bridgeport


Water in the city of Bridgeport will be shut off at 5 p.m. to repair a water leak at 16th and Irvine streets, according to city officials. Tiffany Evans, with Bridgeport public relations, said service should be restored in three hours. More information will be posted as it’s available.

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Teen injured in wreck


11.21.14 wreck

A Decatur teenager was flown to a Fort Worth hospital following a single vehicle wreck Thursday night north of Decatur. Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Beau Bridgeman said Matthew Hatzenbihler, 18, of Alvord was driving a Jeep southbound on County Road 2395 at an unsafe speed when he lost control, swerved and hit a tree about a mile north of County Road 2175. His passenger, Brittanie Martin, 18, was taken by ground ambulance to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur where Air Evac Lifeteam 68 was standing by to transport her to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Bridgeman said Martin’s injuries did not seem to be life-threatening. The accident happened around 8:45 p.m. Wise County EMS and the Decatur Fire Department also responded.

 

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Flurry of rollovers on 287


Two separate one-car rollovers on U.S. 287 near Alvord Sunday evening sent four people to the hospital in Decatur. Both mishaps were blamed on icy roads as snow and sleet blew in after sundown. The first occurred just before 8 when a vehicle rolled into the median just north of Alvord. Two people were transported from the scene by Wise County EMS ambulance. While officers were at the scene, a car approaching the accident spun out and went off the roadway and was helped back onto the road by the Alvord Fire Department’s brush truck crew. Just a few minutes later, another one-car rollover was called in just south of the earlier one. Two people were also transported by Wise County EMS from that wreck. Alvord Fire Department responded to that scene as well, as Department of Public Safety state troopers worked both accidents. The wreck scenes were cleared shortly after 9.

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Car crashes into ravine, driver seriously injured


A man was seriously injured Thursday evening when his car crashed into a ravine off of Farm Road 2127 near Crafton.

Adam Edington, 19, was traveling southbound on 2127 in a compact car about 5 p.m. when he ran off the edge of the pavement. Department of Public Safety Trooper Jeff Johnson said Edington tried to return to the roadway and overcorrected, losing control.

The car left the roadway and crashed into a ravine that was about 100 feet deep. Johnson said Edington’s car landed upright, but due to his injuries, including a head injury, he was unable to get out of the car.

Wise County’s Medic 1 and Rescue 1 treated Edington and transported him about one mile south to Farm Road 1810 where Air Evac Lifeteam 68 landed. The helicopter ambulance flew Edington to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Farm Road 2127 was shut down for about an hour. Crafton and Chico volunteer fire departments also responded and assisted with traffic control on both roadways.

 

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Fire destroys Alvord home


 

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

 

An Alvord home caught fire about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday when the heater on a chicken brooder malfunctioned.

Homeowner Mark Kelley and his dogs, Thumper and Roxie, escaped without injury, but his house in the 1500 block of County Road 1790 was destroyed. The smell of smoke woke him up.

“When I went to see what was smoking, I could see the fire on the side of the brooder where the heating element was,” he said. “By the time I figured out what was happening, it was time to get out.”

Kelley said he raises chickens for organic eggs, and he had 86 new chicks in the brooder. He had it set up in the middle bedroom of the mobile home to protect the chicks from the cold front that blew in this week.

Alvord Fire Chief Sam Hahn said when his department arrived, the home was fully involved. Decatur and Sunset fire departments were also called to the scene.

The American Red Cross was called to assist Kelley.

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Worker killed in tractor accident


A man operating a tractor at a construction site at a private residence near Boyd was killed Wednesday morning when the tractor tipped over. The man, from Decatur, was not identified pending notification of next of kin and positive identification. Wise County Sheriff’s Investigator Josh Reynolds said the backhoe tipped over on its side, pinning the operator underneath. He died at the scene. Reynolds said there does not appear to be anything suspicious about the accident, which happened just after 10 a.m. in the 1200 block of  County Road 4371 north of Boyd. It appeared the man was part of a work crew clearing brush and digging out a pond.

 

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Update on Tuesday’s U.S. 287 wreck


The woman who was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth Tuesday following her wreck with a parked 18-wheeler on the median of U.S. 287 at C.R. 4421 has been identified as Yanete Ramirez-Merchedo, 31, of Decatur. She is currently in the Intensive Care Unit at JPS, and was initially treated for a head contusion, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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