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Members of the Dumas Fire Department struggle to save two houses in the 1600 block of Meredith Avenue Tuesday after a power line, downed by high winds, started a fire that destroyed a shed and fence.

Wind gusts reached 58 miles per hour Tuesday around noon as Dumas firefighters fought to save two homes in the 1600 Block of South Meredith Avenue.  Five units of the Dumas Fire Department responded to a report of an electrical fire, according to Chief Ronald Pray.  The high winds downed an electrical power line in the alley west of Meredith setting a fire in the back yard of one of the homes.  The high winds blowing east fanned the flames and sent them in the direction of the two houses.  The flames burned grass, a fence between the two houses, and a shed.  Blowing embers struck both houses.  According to Pray, firefighters were initially hampered in their effort to contain the flames by the presence of the energized power line at the scene.  They had to wait for Excel Energy to cut power off to the line.  "We couldn't spray water on it like we would want to," he said.

Once the power to the line was shut off, the firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control and stop it from spreading.  The fire generated a massive amount of thick, black smoke, and flames shot up beyond the roof of one of the houses, clearly visible from Meredith Avenue, but, according to Pray, neither house suffered damage.  The shed burned completely and the fence was partially damaged.  They were the only structures damaged.  No injuries were reported.

"They did a great job with the heavy winds knocking the fire down and keeping it from spreading to the two houses," said Pray of his firefighters' efforts.  "If they hadn't taken such quick action, it could have spread … with the wind pushing that fire and all the embers and stuff hitting the houses, it could have very easily happened."

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