Flames filled the inside of a workshop belonging to the family of a local business owner and took with it several tools, family treasures and numerous other belongings.
John Holt, the owner of My Father’s Tools, reportedly was welding on the props for the Matador Marching Band inside of the building behind his home in the 300 block of Buerger Lane when a fire erupted inside on Thursday morning.
“I was finishing up welding some aluminum parts for the band’s props and a slag from one of my welds hit the ground, splattered and when it did it jumped over to a box and just caught that on fire,” Holt said. “Of course, I’m under a welding helmet so I didn’t see it and next thing you know it’s a big huge fire.”
Just before 9:45 a.m., Holt attempted to call 911, however, due to an AT&T Fiber line being down, he couldn’t get a hold of anyone, Seguin Fire Chief Dale Skinner said.
“I called 911 and got no response. I called three times and nobody was answering,” Holt said. “Apparently, the system crashed at that time. So I had to call (Seguin Fire) Inspector (Shannon) Billings and he called it over the radio to get the fire truck out here. But by the time they got out here, it was too far gone.”
At about 9:45 a.m., Skinner said the Seguin Fire Department, as well as the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the call over the radio.
“The (AT&T Fiber) line went down temporarily so he was not able to call 911. That did delay our response to the incident,” Skinner said.
The fiber line hiccup was cured within minutes after the incident occurred, Skinner said.
While Holt waited for the fire department’s arrival, he attempted to try to put out the fire on his own.
“I tried to go back in and put this fire out with a bucket from the house. I initially tried putting it out with a blanket and then the blanket caught fire,” he said. “Everything I was trying to use just caught fire because it was so hot already. I took a deep breath and inhaled some hot air so I just said, ‘I’m done. I gotta save myself.’”
The shed, which contained Holt’s tools, as well as some of his father-in-law’s, a lawn mower, a 1930 Ford Model A and several family keepsakes, is a total loss, Skinner said.
Holt and his family used the building for storage because of the lack of space in their home, he said.
“All of our last memories and stuff were in there. I built a second deck up there out of plywood because we didn’t have any storage in our house,” Holt said. “We were storing all of our memories up there. All the girls’ stuff from school and their collectibles were all up there. Our wedding pictures were up there, we found those, but a lot of them were trash.”
Some of the band props he was working on also were destroyed, Holt said.
“I didn’t get them out. I was more worried about trying to put the fire out than trying to get stuff out,” he said. “I gotta get these band props done and, of course, I lost both my welders in the fire. I need to get somebody to remake these pieces. I’m going to have to call the Seguin Fabrication because they’re the ones that are equipped to do it. They already helped me start welding the first part of it so hopefully, they can help me with this.”
While a lot of material items were lost, Holt said he’s glad no one was injured.
“We’ll get through it. It’s just a fire. It’s just material things, memories, but it’s pretty devastating. Everybody is healthy, that’s the important thing,” he said.
Holt wanted to thank everyone who helped and made sure they were safe during the incident.
“I do want to send out a very special thank you to all of SFD and the county people that came out and all the neighbors,” he said. “That’s the one thing about Seguin. We may have our differences along the way, but when there’s a time of need, this community pulls together. There’s no doubt. People came over that they didn’t even live by me.”