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Questions surround Lacy Lakeview weekend fire training after nearby home damaged

Couple Susan and John looking looking at the damage to their Lacy lakeview home.
Posted at 5:38 PM, May 22, 2024

LACY LAKEVIEW, Texas (KXXV) — There have been some questions among City of Lacy Lakeview residents, following a controlled burn of a house by the volunteer fire department for training on Sunday.

While other news outlets ran the story as is, 25 News held off to take our time and do our due diligence as journalists, in order to gain a better picture of what’s going on, and to clear up some confusion and help get answers to your questions.

It was Susan and John May's home of almost 50 years that was damaged on Sunday — they said heat from the fire training next door damaged most of the left-side exterior wall of their home.

The heat even damaged window blinds, and cracked a vanity mirror that was inside the home.

City officials say a protective barrier, similar to a sprinkler, is put in place for controlled fire trainings, like what was held on Sunday.

“Done this many of times over the years that I was in the fire department with my other fire chiefs back in the day — never really had nothing like this ever happen," said City Building Inspector, Tomas Cardoza.

"It got out of control a little bit, but again we focused on keeping the people’s house safe.”

Now the May’s just want their home repaired to how it was before, and want an ozone machine brought in to have any remaining toxins taken out.

“I expect them to do everything correctly to make it as good as it was," Susan told 25 News' Bobby Poitevint on Monday

But conflicting information from city officials about repairs have been mentioned, leaving the couple with little confidence from the city that the work will get done correctly.

“It’s hard to really feel a 100% confident," Susan said.

25 News' Bobby Poitevint asked city council members, City Manager Calvin Hodde and Tomas Cardoza, these questions:

  • “Will the City of Lacy Lakeview pay for all damages done to the May’s home including having an ozone machine brought in to remove smoke/toxins from the home?”
  • "Will these damages be filed on the City of Lacy Lakeview’s insurance or does Mr. Calvin Hodde plan to pay for the damages out of pocket?”
  • “Will an inspector be brought in to assess the damage?”

These questions along with others including questions emailed to 25 News' Bobby Poitevint were sent over to city leaders on Tuesday.

Lacy Lakeview community members believe Calvin Hodde owns the condemned house that was used for training.

  • “Why would Calvin Hodde have a building on property that he owns burned down by the LLVFD, instead of demolishing it at his expense?”
  • “Why would the fire department even consider burning a house without a working fire hydrant that’s operating near by.”

Calvin Hodde responded and said they are investigating the “unfortunate” situation.
In a partial statement he said via email:

“Based on the results of the investigation, the appropriate steps will then be taken, including remedying any damage that may be the responsibility of the City. Since a claim is pending the City will defer any further comment until after the investigation has been completed.”

City officials have visited the May family.

The May family said they are looking at other options for repairs.

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