'Something out of a war zone': Fire destroys 70+ vehicles at Robinson Family Farm near Temple

Posted at 2:06 PM, Oct 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-16 21:32:43-04

UPDATE 8:45 P.M. — Crews have extinguished a fire that destroyed more than 70 vehicles outside Temple at a popular family attraction.

"It looked like something out of a war zone," said John Bessick, a veteran who came to the pumpkin patch earlier and helped evacuate families. "Since I have PTSD, it's kind nerve-racking."

Bessick said he and a friend were in their vehicle about to leave when they first noticed the fire — then vehicles started to explode.

Robinson Family Farm Fire
At least 73 vehicles were destroyed Saturday at the Robinson Family Farm outside Temple. The owners of the popular tourist attraction said it started as a small fire that quickly spread. Officials say initial reports point to possibly a discarded cigarette as the cause of the fire.

"We had a few babies and a few strollers trying to get out," Bessick said as he and his friend helped evacuate people trying to leave the exit on Bob White Road.

A Bell County spokesperson said in a shared statement at least 73 vehicles were destroyed in the fire.

Though, the cause of the fire remains under investigation, initial reports "indicate the fire possibly started from an inappropriately discarded cigarette in the parking area," the statement said.

Officials said 18 agencies responded to the farm shortly after 1 p.m. as the first call went out for assistance.

For families at other parts of the pumpkin patch, it all happened so quickly.

"We had just gotten here and we were about to eat, and I saw a cloud of smoke come over the building," Colby Sanders said about the fire. "People started running to the parking lot and next thing we know everything is on fire."

Sanders and his wife Katie traveled from Franklin to visit the Robinson Family Farm pumpkin patch.

First responders said no one was injured from the explosions and fire.

Four firefighters and two civilians were treated for heat-related illness at the scene and one person had an anxiety attack, officials said.

Helen Robinson, one of the farm's owners, said the family is grateful no one was injured or killed from the fire. She said to 25 News her family's thoughts are with their customers.

The family posted on Facebook the farm would be closed tomorrow, but it will reopen October 22 and extend an extra weekend this season.

This is the first season for the Robinson family at the new location outside of Temple city limits.

The family opened its farm to visitors back in 2013, drawing in thousands each year for its pumpkin patch and family activities.

Still, the loss of a reliable vehicle couldn't come at a worse time for families like the Sanders.

"It's rough. I got a truck and we both have jobs," Sanders said. "We're going to have to figure out how she's going to get back to work."

BELL COUNTY, Texas – More than 30 vehicles were destroyed during a fire Saturday at Robinson Family Farm in Temple.

Police have asked the public to avoid the area.

The cause of the fire wasn't immediately known. The owners tell 25 News it started as a small fire under a car that they tried to put out with a fire extinguisher, but that it spread quickly in the grass.

No injuries were reported.

The fire has been extinguished, but authorities continue to watch for hot spots.

Robinson Family Farm, a known tourist attraction that draws thousands of visitors each year, features a pumpkin patch and numerous other attractions.

It is one of two Robinson Family Farm locations in Temple. This one is located at Bob White Road.

25 News is on the scene.