Fire destroys Conroe business

CONROE- A fire that began Saturday night and ended early Sunday destroyed a Conroe business.

Garza Maciel Income Tax, located at 604 W. Lewis St. at the intersection of Palestine St., was gutted by a blaze that was difficult to extinguish, according to fire officials, because of the structure’s age.

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Toni Morgan, a 16-year-old who lives about a block from the business, was first to report the fire.

“I just got done walking my dog and I went in and put the phone on the charger,” Morgan said. “Then the dog (a dachshund named Sugar) started barking.”

Morgan thought Sugar might be letting her know her younger sister and a friend had arrived home, but when she opened the front door, no one was there. She thought she saw something in the direction of West Lewis, she said, she began to walk toward the intersection. Then Morgan saw why Sugar was so excited.

“It was a huge fire!” she exclaimed, “Flames were coming out of the back, so I called (911).”

Joe Craig, with the City of Conroe Fire Marshal’s Office, said Morgan’s call was received at 11:28 p.m. and the first Conroe Fire Department truck arrived on location at 11:33 p.m. Four engines and a ladder truck responded, Craig said. Like Morgan, the first firefighters to arrive saw fire from the rear of the building.

The fire in the wood frame structure was challenging for firefighters to extinguish and kept having “flare ups” in areas that no longer appeared to be burning.

“The building is very old, with multiple roofs,” Craig said. “Multiple layers collapse, they’re compressed and they have to be pulled apart.”

Morgan said she was sad to see the building burn because she had seen people she believed to be the new owners working hard to remodel what was once a home.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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