Firefighters battle strong winds, explosion fallout following Sabine Pass elevated home blaze

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A Sabine Pass home is a total loss following a wind driven fire Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

Port Arthur Interim Fire Chief Robert Havens said the first call came in as an explosion at approximately 12:15 p.m.

When the first unit arrived at the Tremont Street address, the home was fully involved in a fire.

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Homes in Sabine Pass are built on stilts like beach cabins due to the proximity to the coast.

“What made this particularly challenging is that it had a lot of fuel, a lot of wood and furnishings and you had a very strong wind coming out of the south,” Havens said. Added to this is the fact the home elevated made it even more challenging, he said.

The explosion, which was mentioned in the call to emergency services, could have been due to a number of sources. The homeowners had some small residential propane cylinders. There was also some welding equipment, and even a tire on a trailer or car will explode when it gets hot.

“There’s a lot of different things it cold have been,” Havens said.

Firefighters were able to stop the blaze before it did significant damage to the home on the right, which was the downwind side of the structure. That home did sustain some exposure damage.

No one was at home at the time of the fire. The owner had gone into town and when he returned his house was one fire.

A woman who lives in an adjacent home had to be removed from her residence when her home was threatened. Havens said the woman was not injured but had mobility issues.

The American Red Cross was contacted to assist the displaced homeowners.

The cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation, Havens said.

Sabine Pass is separated from the main part of Port Arthur by a 13 or so mile trek down Texas 87 — the only road in and out of the community.

There is a fire station in Sabine Pass and the firefighters there worked the scene until reinforcements arrived from the city.