Bonfire Light Could Be Dimming in Robertson County

By: Pachatta Pope Email
By: Pachatta Pope Email

During Bonfire night last year, Aggies relished in the old tradition.

However, Robert Olmstead, who owns about 150 acres adjacent to the burn site, says embers fell onto his property, causing him and firefighters to have a long night.

"Had they not been here, I probably been burned out last year, but I just don't want to go through that again," Olmstead said. "It's too much risk."

For that reason, Olmstead said he, along with a few other landowners in the area of the burn site, petitioned Robertson County commissioners to stop the actual burn event, which is set for November 17.

The president of Student Bonfire, Barry Morris, says the presence of emergency services on Olmstead's property was a result of their safety plan in action.

"We even provide a brush truck and two four wheelers for his property alone," Morris said.

He adds an insurance policy was in effect last year and will be again this year.

"It's still in processing right now," Morris said. "It's quite a bit of a big thing to go through and process since it is such as large event."

Olmstead says he does not believe it is enough.

"I'm against the bonfire only because there's a risk to myself and my neighbors and all the property owners out here," Olmstead said.

On Monday, Robertson County Judge Jan Roe informed opponents that county commissioners did not have jurisdiction to stop the burn event. It is now up to a district judge to decide whether this year's Bonfire proceeds as the judge considers a possible injunction to stop the event.

As everyone awaits a decision, cutting and construction of the stack continues.

Bonfire has been unsanctioned by the university since 1999 when Bonfire collapsed, killing 12 Aggies and injuring 27.

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