ELLIS COUNTY

In a matter of hours Friday evening, David Ross lost everything that took a lifetime to build.

Members of the community are now reaching out to assist the Marine Corps veteran after a fire destroyed his home to help him rebuild, but assistance is still needed.

Emergency crews were dispatched to the 1000 block of Lone Elm Road at about 6 p.m. to find Ross’ residence fully involved in fire. Ross was not home at the time of the fire, as he had gone out to dinner.

The fire consumed Ross’ house, a trailer, 11 vehicles, and eight acres of grassland. Members of the Midlothian, Forreston, Maypearl, Venus, and Emergency Services District 6 Fire Departments worked to extinguish the fire.

Jake Escamilla, Fire Chief ESD 6, stated the fire spread rapidly due to the wind conditions and dry grass. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Ellis County Fire Marshal’s Office at this time.

Ross’s son, David Binford, stated his father was on the way back home when he saw the smoke from a distance.

“They tried to block him from getting into the area because they were trying to contain the fire," David said. "He told him that he lived out there and as he got closer, he realized it was his house that was fully engulfed in fire."

David stated there is nothing left of the home that he and his father built together in 1985 while he was in high school. All that remains are charred pieces of wood and metal.

“My dad had everything there. His military records are there in the house. We never talked about any of that stuff, and now all of that stuff is gone,” David said. “I sent a letter to Senator (Ted) Cruz to get those records expedited. Once I can get those records, I can get a little bit more assistance to help him to get things squared away.”

Ross served in the Marines from 1960-1964. He drove a truck for Sears and Roebuck for 30 years after leaving the military and currently works for CPX Trucking in Midlothian.

David stated his father is a very giving person and works to help others before himself.

“My dad is the type of guy who is always helping someone else out even if it is at his own determent. He has always tried to give back and help people out and didn’t expect anything in return,” David said. “I remember helping him fix people’s cars that were down on their luck and need a vehicle to get back and forth to work.”

Ross’s grandson, Rhett Bindford, stated even during this challenging moment his grandfather is maintaining a positive outlook on his situation.

“He is doing ok. Everyone deals with grief in their own way, but he is remaining positive throughout all of it. He realizes that it could have been a lot worse if he was home,” Rhett said. “You can tell that it weighs on him, but he remains positive throughout it all.”

Rhett stated his grandfather is one of the hardest people he knows and cares so much about others.

“If someone were to have needs he would still give the shirt off his back for someone who had it worse then he did. He is just a very carrying a giving person and gives when he can,” Rhett said. “I have been keeping my grandfather updated with things that been happening like people donating. It is shocking him in a very positive way to see the community and the people that we know reaching out in love.”

Rhett stated Ross is currently living in a second home on the property that has been used as a rental but is going to require some work.

David stated members of the community have already come forward to offer their assistance. He noted a fellow veteran from Alvarado has offered air condition services when needed.

Rhett stated the best way to help is through a monetary donation because all of his grandfather needs are not known yet.

The family is working to set up a donation account for Ross with Citizens National Bank at this time. People who what to help now can make a donation through a GoFundMe account, DR Binford Marine House Fire, that has been set up. As of Tuesday, the account has raised $5,747 of its $135,000 goal.

Gifco Road Fire

Firefighters from around the area, along with the Texas Forest Service, battled a fire that consumed 508 acres of pasture Friday evening. First responders were dispatched at 4:45 p.m. to the 900 block of Gifco Road in Midlothian.

Assistant Fire Chief Philip Brancato, Midlothian Fire Department, stated within a minute of being on the scene the first crew requested additional help. Members of the Ovilla, Waxahachie, Grand Prairie, Cedar Hill, Glenn Heights, and Mansfield Fire Departments provided assistance on the call. Ellis County employees, Ash Grove Cement employees, and the Forrest Service assisted on the call.

“There were about 40 people there whether it was dozer operators or hand crews,” Brancato said. “Residents were not evacuated. They talked about evacuating some of them, but the fire was not going to be close to them.”

Brancato stated, due to the remote area, heavy equipment had to be used to cut a path for firefighters to access the fire. The fire was brought under control and out within four to five hours.

Members of the Texas Forest Service remained on site till 4 p.m. Sunday checking the area for potential hot spots that could flare up.

Brancato stated only grass and trees were burn in the fire. There was no property loss. Firefighters or residents in the area reported no injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Midlothian Fire Department at this time.

Farm-to-Market Road 1446 Fire

First responders were toned out to a 7-acre pasture fire in the 3000 block of FM 1446 on Monday. Crews were dispatched to the scene at about 6 p.m.

Fire Chief Jake Escamilla, ESD 6, stated the wind along with the dried grass made conditions difficult for firefighters.

Additional assistance was requested and received from Maypearl, Forreston, and Waxahachie. Shuttle operations were set up with two takers to bring water to the scene due to lack of fire hydrants in the immediate area. Crews reported no injuries and were able to clear the scene at 10 p.m.

Tim Birdwell, Ellis County Fire Marshal, stated the cause of the fire was due to sparks from a person welding. He noted the operator of the welder had all the precautions in place such as a fire extinguisher readily available, but the wind kicked up blowing the sparks.

Patrick Road Fire

A home is considered a total loss after a Tuesday morning fire. Crews were dispatched at 5:30 a.m. to the 2200 block of Patrick Road in Waxahachie.

Escamilla stated when he arrived at the location he found the two-story residence fully engulfed.

“The fire started in the rear of the home. It then spread and caught a detached garage on fire,” Escamilla said. “Two vehicles inside the garage and one outside were lost.”

Escamilla stated the residents were not at home during the fire but were out of town on vacation.

Providing assistance on the call were members of the Midlothian, Waxahachie, Red Oak, and Forreston Fire Departments.

The cause of the fire has not been determined and is under investigation by the county fire marshal’s office.

Units cleared the scene and returned to their stations at 10:30 a.m.