Port Arthur house fire sends 2 to hospital; mutual aid needed to fight blaze

Published 11:22 am Monday, August 21, 2023

A mid-day house fire Saturday sent two people to the hospital for smoke inhalation and caused two firefighters to be treated at the scene due to the heat.

Port Arthur Fire Chief Greg Benson said firefighters with Station 8 were on the road when they saw smoke in the area of Howell Drive.

“They realized even if the smoke was a trash fire, because of the burn ban, it would need to be extinguished,” Benson said. “They started to make their way there, and the smoke continued to increase. When they pulled up, they indicated it was a house fire.”

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The fire was at a two-story brick home in the 4300 block of Howell Drive.

The two occupants of the home were able to get out of the structure and were taken to a local hospital for smoke inhalation.

Benson explained the smoke from a house fire is highly toxic and has particulates in it. Those subjected to smoke inhalation should be taken to a hospital.

Those with smoke inhalation may seem OK at the moment, but 12 to 24 hours later they may show inhalation or cardiovascular problems, Benson said.

Two occupants in the home on Howell Drive were taken to a local hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation. (Courtesy of the Port Arthur Fire Department)

Then there should be consideration of any underlying medical conditions, he added.

PAPD initiated mutual aid and had assistance from Nederland and Groves fire departments.

The reason for the additional help was due to the heat.

Benson said with heat like it was on Saturday and considering all of the gear firefighters must wear, they have to be very mindful of “work-rest cycles” or they will get into a medical situation.

During the fire the crew that had been inside needs to come out, rehydrate and rest while an additional crew goes inside to fight the fire, he said.

Two firefighters were treated at the scene for heat-related illness.

The exact amount of damage to the home is not available, but the fire chief said the structural integrity of the home is questionable due to the amount of damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Benson said firefighters were on scene for four hours.