By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
A pair of weekend fires in Quay County resulted in the death of a Logan resident and the burning of more than 2,000 acres near Quay.
Billy E. Sparks, 92, died Friday during a house fire at his residence on the 500 block of Zuni in Logan that reports said followed a loud explosion.
Logan Volunteer Fire Department firefighters were dispatched at 11:25 a.m., Friday to a report of a loud explosion and structure fire at 504 Zuni, with the possibility of an elderly male resident still being inside, said Rex Stall, Logan fire chief.
Stall said upon arrival, firefighters reported a residence fully engulfed by flames. He said it took fire units 45 minutes to contain and extinguish the fire.
Stall said once the fire was extinguished, firefighters searched through the debris and located a body in the structure. He said an investigator with the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator was called out to pronounce the death of the resident, who was later identified as Sparks.
Stall said the cause of death is still under investigation, but a preliminary examination of the scene indicated Sparks may not of had a chance to exit the residence.
Stall said the State Fire Marshal’s Office was contacted and the cause of the explosion and the fire is still under investigation. He said it appears the source of the fire could have been the rekindling from an earlier controlled burn near the residence.
Stall said the last fatal fire in Logan occurred in May 2010; a house fire resulted in the death of 77-year-old Dave Bryant.
On Sunday, 10 volunteer fire departments aided the Quay Fire Department in a five-hour battle to extinguish a grass fire that burned more than 2,000 acres 5 miles south of Tucumcari.
Firefighters were first dispatched to a report of a grass fire at 2 p.m., Sunday near Quay, said Gerald Hight, Quay fire chief.
Hight said high winds caused the fire to spread quickly and prompted the request of assistance from the additional agencies including, Tucumcari, Rural 1, Rural 2, Forrest and Logan.
“The winds caused the fire to go from mild to wild in a short time,” Hight said, adding that with assistance from other agencies the fire was contained and extinguished with no loss of livestock or structures.
Hight said preliminary investigation shows that the source of the fire was a water trailer that lost a wheel due to a bearing going out.
Hight explained that axle was hot and may have caused the grass on the shoulder of the road to ignite.
Hight said the department is still working on the projected cost of extinguishing the fire. He said the total will include the time of the additional personnel needed to fight the fire, as well as equipment cost.