Cotton continues to smolder after a late afternoon fire on Sunday at a gin near Smyer. The blaze charred almost 100 cotton modules. Five fire stations responded to the blaze just before 3:00 p.m.
Luckily there were no injuries. Though it's not known what caused the fire, it spread fast, leaving behind thousands of dollars in damages.
"I'd had a driver out here about 30 minutes before, he didn't hear or smell anything and he later looked back and saw the smoke in the distance," says Johnny Shepherd, manager of Citizens Co-op Gin.
Though it was at first considered a minor blaze, it spread so quickly that fire fighters were forced to call for additional units. "I knew we were going to need a lot of water. I had a report that we had 9 and it jumped to 20 and I think total we have about 60 to 70 modules out here on fire," explains Reece Northcut of Smyer Fire Department.
The damages are estimated to be worth about $200,000. "That's quite a bit. There's nothing we can really do as far a putting it out. We were just on the defensive until they could get all the ones that weren't on fire out of the way," says Northcut.
For that, Citizens Gin enlisted the help of many neighboring gins as far as Lubbock and Abernathy to help move cotton modules that could be salvaged."The gins normally come together whenever something like this happens and try to help one another out," says Shepherd.
Hockley County is investigating the cause of the fire. The cotton is expected to smolder for a few days before things get back to normal. The gin's insurance is expected to cover the entire cost of the damage.