March 23, 1995 in Nation/World

Grass Fires Burn Homes In Texas

Compiled From Wire Services

Wind-fed grass fires burned several homes Wednesday and forced authorities to close a highway and evacuate workers at a nuclear weapons plant.

At least one firefighter was treated for burns. No other injuries were reported.

One fire southeast of Amarillo burned 2,000 acres and five homes, Amarillo firefighter Darrell Johnson said. Another in Canyon severely damaged an apartment complex.

A third fire burned about 6,000 acres owned by Texas Tech University and forced the evacuation of 2,500 workers from the nearby Pantex nuclear plant before the blaze was doused Wednesday night.

Only essential personnel and security workers were left at the nation’s primary disassembly site for nuclear bombs, but it is expected to reopen today.

The fire, which was fanned by strong winds, may have been caused by a discarded cigarette, said Ricky Hamilton, chief of the Panhandle Fire Department. It damaged six structures.

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