Fire causes $500K damage to company, $25K to local firefighter’s gear

A resin that formed as a by-product of material that burned on the roof of the building dripped onto the firefighters and their gear and then hardened. (Photo by Ke'Sha Lopez)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) A weekend fire did about $500,000 to a warehouse belonging to a Waco company that manufactures fiberglass aerial lift booms and another $25,000 damage to firefighters’ gear.

The two-alarm fire broke out Saturday afternoon at the Waco Boom Warehouse in the 400 block of Texas Central Parkway.

Damage is estimated at about $250,000 to the property and another $200,000 to the building’s contents.

Firefighters didn’t discover the damage to their gear until they returned to their stations.

"This watery substance had soaked into a lot of our gear and didn't really realized there was any problem until we come back from the fire and the guys were cleaning up getting ready for the next call,” Battalion Chief Chris Pechacek said.

The watery substance was a resin that formed as a by-product of material that burned on the roof of the building and then dripped onto the firefighters and their gear and hardened.

"It's like an epoxy, a super hard super glue if you will, and so trying to work in that gear and it's so hard. Imagine having to crawl around in a home to look for somebody or a car wreck and you're crawling around trying to help rescue someone," Pechacek said.

He said the substance took out the turnout gear for eight firefighters at about $2,500 a pop, in addition to some boots, gloves, and hoses.

Some of the damaged gear was brand new.

The department is still assessing the damage, but at this point estimates it will run from $25,000 to $30,000.

The department has extra gear in reserve, but it may not be a perfect fit for the eight firefighters, which is also important.

Officials said, having gear that doesn't quite fit properly can hamper a firefighter’s efforts on the job.

The department is in the process of getting current sizing for the firefighters.

The gear is specially tailored for their height and weight.

The replacement gear will have to be ordered and officials said it could take months to get it.

The blaze was ignited by electrical wiring that caught fire near a processing/manufacturing area of the building, a report released Monday says.