Hardeman County authorities said they believe in the coming days they’ll know what caused an explosion that killed a retired Texoma firefighter and seriously burned two other men.
Robert and Gerald Isnhower who both suffered some substantial burns and were flown by air-evac to Lubbock Burn Center are currently in critical condition.
Around 11:30 a.m. the Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office responded to the explosion at Isnhower Automotive Repair.
Sheriff Pat Laughery said when they arrived they found the owner Gerald and his brother Robert outside with severe burns. The two men told them that Robert Floyd Pierce, a former Vernon firefighter who was also a part-time worker at Isnhower Auto Repair, was still inside.
“The building when we arrived was fully engulfed. The fire department arrived on the scene and started to extinguish the fire but there was no way that we could get entrance in to retrieve him at that time,” Laughery said.
Laughery said at this time they aren’t sure how the fire started.
“The only thing that we know is that inside the mechanics shop the doors were closed. We don’t know if we had a heater incident at this time it is still under investigation like I said I have three state Fire Marshall’s here right now and they just started conducting their investigation,” Laughery said.
However, the Quanah Tribune-Chief reports that employees were working on a fuel tank that was still connected to the gas tank and it fell while they were working on it. The owner of Ken’s Liquor Store, Dale Robbins, knows Robert and Gerald well.
“We’ve known them all their life. They were born and raised here. Robert, he used to be one of our main cooks at Ken’s Restaurant. And Gerald, there’s four of those boys and all of them are just hard working guys,” Robbins said.
Robbins also knew Pierce and he said with Quanah being such a small town where everybody knows everybody, what happened was truly a tragedy
Pierce leaves behind three kids, five grandkids and five great-grandkids.