PALMER – A fire that started as a source of warmth in the fireplace of a residence on Saturday soon spread to other areas leaving a family five out in the cold.

“When we got there it was already blowing out the roof. We think they had a problem with their fireplace,” Palmer Assistant Fire Chief Ricky McElhaney said. McElhaney noted that firefighters were dispatched at approximately 6 p.m. to the 100 block Orr Circle. “The high winds caused us some major problems. We couldn’t extinguish it because of the high winds.”

According to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, an arctic cold front moved through North Texas on Saturday resulting in much colder temperatures and very cold wind chills overnight. Temperatures fell as much as 50 degrees in some areas and were around 20 degrees. North winds were 25 to 30 mph with gusts as high as 40 mph.

McElhaney said the homeowners attempted to put the fire out prior to the fire department’s arrival but were unsuccessful. The five residents — two adults and three children — were able to safely evacuate from the home.

“There was no water supply out there, so we had to shuttle water. The major problem was high winds,” McElhaney said. “The cold was not a factor on the fire, but it probably did us some good keeping it spreading to the neighbors. There were embers blowing everywhere.”

Providing assistance on the call were members of the Bristol, Garrett, Ennis, Red Oak, Ferris and Dallas County Fire Departments. Ellis County Fire Marshal Tim Birdwell is investigating the cause of the fire. Along with the home, a pickup truck was damaged by the fire. Firefighters cleared the scene and returned to the station at about 2 a.m. on Sunday.

According to the Palmer Independent School District’s Facebook page, a donation period established by the district to aid the family has already passed. However, people who would like to find out how they can help can contact the administration office at 972-449-3389. Calls may be unanswered due to school being out for its holiday break. The Palmer ISD Administration building is located at 303 Bulldog Way in Palmer. Messages can also be sent through the district’s official Facebook page.

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