Town of Carbon Among Hardest Hit by Eastland Complex Wildfires

The Eastland Complex is composed of four different fires managed under one incident

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Residents in Carbon are figuring out their next steps as flames from the Eastland Complex destroyed many homes and damaged property.

The Eastland Complex is composed of four different fires managed under one incident, according to Angel Lopez Portillo with the Texas A&M Forest Service.

As of midday Friday, the fire had spread more than 45,000 acres was 4% contained. It forced the evacuation of multiple towns Thursday including Gorman, Rising Star and Carbon, where there was significant damage.

Jequita Grissom returned to her home on Main Street Friday morning to find it completely destroyed. In 2006, she lost her first home in another big fire in Carbon. She and her family moved into the home they lost to this recent fire Thursday about seven years ago.

“I’m like lost for words, really. I’m hardly ever lost for words,” Grissom said. “I guess we are going to put our trust in our Heavenly Father. Same as last time. He took care of us. He’ll take care of us again.”

Firefighters battling wildfires in what is called the Eastland Complex are facing strong winds and dry conditions Friday.

Nearby, neighbor Victim Raygoza’s home was spared. His rental property next door which houses two families were destroyed in the fire. Raygoza said when he learned about the evacuations Thursday, he returned home to get his dogs and immediately left once he knew his family was safe.

“We went to Gorman and then about 9 p.m., we got evacuated from Gorman again. We left for Ranger. Friends over there and that’s where we stayed,” he said.

Without power and water, he said their family will still elsewhere on Friday night.

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On Friday, containment efforts continued as Eastland officers went door to door.

“We’re searching for survivors and searching for bodies, unaccounted for,” Chief David Hullum said.

Residents in Carbon like Bonnie Williams who did not lose their homes consider themselves lucky. Aside from property damage, Williams said all three of her homes survived the flames.

“I’m just getting over all of the shock and everything and glad it’s as good as it is, and then we will start cleaning up,” Williams said.

Wildfires in the Eastland Complex claimed the life of an Eastland County sheriff's deputy. No other casualties have been reported as of this writing.

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