DONNA, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Don-Wes Flea Market was consumed by a fire on July 16, and fire officials learned new details about the blaze that left the longstanding market destroyed.
“This was an old building; it was over a hundred years old. It’s heartbreaking to see a lot of them lose their livelihood,” said Donna Fire Chief David Simmons.
The call about the fire came into Donna dispatch at 1:14 p.m. Saturday afternoon, according to Simmons.
He said the first responders were on site within four minutes.
Chief Simmons said several fire departments and emergency medical agencies were also dispatched to assist.
Although there were no injuries reported the day of the fire, Simmons said they have now been advised of one burn victim.
“We are now finding out that there was a female, elderly female that was injured. She was a vendor here or she had a stall here with her husband,” he said.
He said the victim did not get assistance at the scene although a command post was on site.
Simmons said he was told the victim received burns to her hands and was treated at a local hospital and possibly transported to the San Antonio burn hospital for care.
He said one firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion.
Hidalgo County Fire Marshal Homero Garza said the investigation is currently being conducted.
“Fortunately for us, we have an eyewitness report from one of the vendors that said he’d seen a fire during the incipient stage up in one of the rafters to building C,” he said.
Garza said the claim can not be verified as the building was bulldozed for firefighters’ safety.
“Unfortunately, again because we were not able to examine the area of origin, we have to call it undetermined, unless we gain other knowledge that leads us in another direction,” he said.
Garza said he is hoping more witnesses come forward with information to his office to assist in the investigation.
The owner of the Don-Wes Flea Market was not ready to provide a statement as she said it was too devastating to comment on.
However, she said she has been receiving an outpour of support from the community through calls and messages.