Cotton fire smokes Batesville

Judge blames trash burn for runaway blaze

Julye Keeble

Staff writer

Multiple fire departments, including crews from La Pryor, Batesville, Crystal City, Dimmit County and Uvalde, were dispatched Tuesday to extinguish a fire at the Winter Garden Co-op Cotton Gin in Batesville along U.S. Highway 57.

Zavala County Judge Joe Luna said preliminary investigations have suggested the fire was caused by employees burning trash. Zavala County is under a burn ban, Luna said.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the fire, but more than 1,000 round bales of cotton waiting to be ginned were destroyed.

The fire started at approximately 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, and the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office closed U.S. Highway 83 briefly. U.S. Highway 57 was also closed, and traffic was re-routed to Farm-to-Market Road 117 into Uvalde.

At points, officials said, smoke on the road was so thick visibility was almost non-existent.

Though U.S. Highway 57 remained closed Tuesday night, at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday morning Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Juan Maldonado said it had been reopened.

Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department assistant chief Mario Rangel referenced 40-plus mph winds that cased heavy smoke as the fires stretched approximately one mile along both sides of Highway 57.


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