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The Off-Campus Bonfire Has Burned

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

The remains from the off campus bonfire have stood on Hot Rod Hill since November. But on New Years Day, property owner Wayne Brown says he woke up to smoke and flames.

"It was smoking it looked like it hadn't been lit too long because I think it was burning on the inside," said Wayne Brown, owner, Hot Rod Hill.

Brown says once he saw the flames peaking out from the stack he called the Brazos County Sheriff's office.

"We started calling a few minutes after nine and someone had already called it in," said Brown.

The stack burned and started to fall, the volunteer fire and sheriff's departments arrived minutes later along with County Judge Randy Sims.

"Today was a very dangerous situation because of how high the wind was," said Judge Randy Sims, Brazos County.

It took fire officials six hours to put out the flames and keep them from spreading, but this bonfire battle is far from over.

"I don't think that bonfire ignited by itself and that's what is so scary. I am going to certainly tell the Sheriff all I observed out there," said Sims.

"This was a headache I think people that did that and cost the county that kind of money should be prosecuted," said Brown.

Sheriff's officials say at this time a lot of information, like who lit the fire and why, is still unknown. But Brown says, he has ruled out the possibility that the fire was lit by students.

"We had a plan to have people back out from the student body cause they built it so I can't see that makes any sense," said Brown.

The sheriff's office says it appears as though someone, or some group, snuck onto the property and lit the fire. But this time around, whomever lit the stack will be facing more than just a citation for burn ban violation. They could also be facing criminal charges for trespass and arson.


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