Fire marshal says trestle blaze suspicious
By 08/23/2000 00:00:00
Ellis County Press
WILMER - Jim Badgett, Dallas County fire marshal, said Monday last week's railroad trestle fire at Ten Mile Creek was still definitely being considered a suspicious fire.
In separate interviews, Badgett and Wilmer Mayor Eugene Lowe, who is also currently acting fire chief for the city, said there wasn't any grass burnt around the trestle.
'I don't think it started from grass, Badgett said.
He said Union Pacific was anxious to repair the trestle the morning following the blaze investigators for his department didn't have an opportunity to investigate.
Trains were up and running in two days on the major track between Dallas and Houston.
Badgett said Union Pacific was conducting its own investigation. Once it's completed, the fire marshal could be informed of the results.
'They could get back to us,' he said. 'In the past that's not been the case. We've done all we can do about it.'
Badgett said this is a tough case. If the fire was arson, he said it would've been difficult for anyone to be seen around the trestle due to the wooded area.
'It could have started from a train going over the trestle,' he said.
Badgett said a spark from a train wheel could have ignited the old wood.
He said a train had recently passed over the trestle.
'If we could get some information it would be helpful,' Badgett said.
A trust fund was established through Bank of America for the family of James Robert Renfroe, assistant fire chief for the Dallas County Volunteer Fire Department, in his name.
Contributions can be made at any branch of Bank of America.
For more information concerning the trust fund, call Badgett at 214-904-3010.
Renfroe, 47, suffered a fatal heart attack after working the trestle fire.
According to reports, Renfroe told a fellow firefighter he wasn't feeling well after getting into one of the trucks to leave the scene about 10 p.m. Aug. 14.
Renfroe had been there several hours in the 100-plus-degree heat.
He was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas where he was pronounced dead at 11:35 p.m.
Services were Friday at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Garland and Laurel Oaks Memorial Park in Mesquite. Internment was at Laurel Oaks.
He was also heavy-equipment supervisor as a civilian employee with the Dallas Fire Department where he was a 14-year veteran.
He taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency medical training classes to businesses and daycare centers throughout the Dallas area.
He was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
He is survived by his wife, Lisa Renfroe; children, Jason and Shaun Renfroe; sister, Shari Cox; and several nieces and nephews.