Update: No evidence to suggest arson in Wimberley blaze
Fire engulfed the Ace Hardware in Wimberley Friday night, resulting in a complete loss of the building, according to Hays County Fire Marshal Mark Chambers. PHOTO by KEN BRIGGS VIA HAYS FREE PRESS
2 p.m. FEB 28: Hays County investigators say they found no evidence of arson or other wrongdoing in the Friday fire that destroyed Ace Hardware, Wimberley’s third-largest employer.
Aerial view of the Ace Hardware in Wimberley following a weekend fire that caused $3 million in damages. HAYS COUNTY PHOTO
The cause remains unknown. Fire Marshal Mark Chambers said Tuesday afternoon that the blaze destroyed any indications of what might have started it. An investigation was suspended Monday due to high winds and resumed Tuesday.
“The exact cause of the fire will remain undetermined due to extensive damage to the property caused in part by the collapse of the roof and fire that smoldered for some 24 hours underneath the collapsed roof,” Chambers said in statement. Damage is estimated at $3 million.
The Friday night fire was a major happening in the rustic Hill Country village.
Said Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley, “It was a very sad night in Wimberley as a local landmark and business burned to the ground. Ace Hardware is my wife’s and daughter’s favorite store and loved by all in Wimberley.”
5:20 p.m. FEB 25: High winds have forced investigators to suspend their inquiry into what caused a fire that destroyed a Wimberley hardware store on Friday. The site of Ace Hardware, 14307 Ranch Road 12, is unsafe because of gusty winds, assistant fire marshal Clint Browning said in a statement this afternoon. Wind gusts as high as 50 mph have been recorded in Hays County today. The investigation will continue Tuesday, Browning said.
10:38 a.m. FEB 25: A fire that raged Friday night at the Ace Hardware in Wimberley resulted in a complete loss of the building, according to Hays County Fire Marshal Mark Chambers. Damages are estimated at $3 million.
Six area fire departments – Wimberley, North Hays, Buda, Kyle, South Hays and San Marcos – responded to the call, which came in just before 10 p.m., according to the Hays County Sheriff’s Office. Chambers said the Hays County Community Emergency Response Team was also on hand Friday night, helping to support first responders.
Chambers said there were no injuries to anyone during the fire, which started after the business closed for the night. His team will conduct the investigation at the scene today. The structure was too hot over the weekend to begin looking into possible causes, Chambers said.
“There is nothing to believe this was a case of arson right now,” Chambers said in an interview Monday morning. The Ace Hardware store was the third largest employer in Wimberley and No. 1 in terms of gross sales, according to Chambers.
KIM HILSENBECK reports for the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.