Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, April 24, 2000
Arson alleged in fire at recycling plant
By SMOKEY BRIGGS
PECOS, April 24, 2000 - Fire fueled by cartons of used computer boards
and driven by high winds raced through Joe Edwards' recycling operation
at Saturday afternoon on the Balmorhea Highway and sent three local firemen
to the hospital suffering from heat exhaustion.
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and local officials closed
Interstate 20 and State Highway 17 for a time, as winds out of the southwest
drove the thick, black smoke across both roads and dropped visibility to
zero. According to Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire, the
Pecos Fire Department responded to the fire 2903 Balmorhea Hwy. with all
seven of its trucks, and the Barstow Fire Department sent two trucks.
Brookshire said that the fire started about 1 p.m. and that Pecos firemen
were still on the scene at 9 p.m.
"I was one of the first people on the scene and the yard was fully enveloped
in fire at one o'clock," Brookshire said.
Owner, Joe Edwards, said that most of the material that was burned consisted
of cardboard cartons of scrap computer boards.
The computer boards are valuable because small amounts of precious and
semi-precious metals are used in their manufacture. The value of the boards
comes from salvaging these metals, he said.
"We've shipped about 30 large containers of this material and had enough
material to ship another 15-20 containers," Edwards said.
Edwards also said that he thought the fire was started intentionally.
"Somebody had to start that fire," he said.
Brookshire said that because of the way the fire department had to put
the fire out, arson would be hard to prove.
"To put the fire out completely, the fire department used a bulldozer
to push the debris into piles and then covered it with dirt," he said.
"It's about the only way to put a fire like that out."
Brookshire said that any evidence of arson was probably destroyed in
Brookshire also said that there were other possible scenarios other
"Anytime you have high winds like we had Saturday there is a risk. There
were two buildings on the site wired for electricity. The wires could have
started swinging in the wind and sparking," Brookshire said.
In any case, Edwards is offering a $1,000 reward for information that
leads to the indictment of anyone responsible for the fire.
Edwards estimated that the fire had caused about $150,000 in damages.
Brookshire also laid to rest any concerns about harmful effects from
the smoke that swept across a large portion of Pecos.
"Anytime you have plastic burning, there will be a certain amount of
toxins, but in this case, not enough to be concerned with - nothing more
than you would expect from a normal fire," he said.
Communications Operator Kathy West with the Texas Department of Public
Safety said that DPS troopers closed I-20 at 2:16 p.m. and opened
the road for traffic at 3:27 p.m.
"We detoured east- and west-bound interstate travelers onto Business
I-20 through Pecos while the interstate was closed," West said.
According to Brookshire, Highway 17, which runs to the east of the site,
was closed for a longer length of time.
Two killed, brothers hurt in rollover north of Pecos
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, April 24, 2000 - Two Pecos men were killed and their brothers
were injured Friday night following a one-vehicle rollover on County Road
402 north of Pecos.
Frederico Urias, 24, and Abram Sandoval, 34, were pronounced dead the
scene by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Lamberto T. Herrera at 9:50 p.m.
Friday, a little over an hour after the accident occurred on County Road
402, just southwest of where it crosses U.S. 285 near the old Santa Fe
According to the Department of Public Safety, the vehicle, a 1994 Pontiac
four-door, was headed west on County Road 402 at a high rate of the speed
when the driver lost control of the car. The vehicle skidded off the road
and through a barbed wire fence, before rolling three times end-over-end
and coming to rest upright, facing north on the side of the road.
All four passengers in the vehicle were ejected, though the other two
in the car, identified as Cesario Urias, 19, and Victor Sandoval, 22, came
out of the wreck with only bruises, lacerations and contusions, according
to DPS Cpl. Emmit Moore, who investigated the accident. The two, who were
the brothers of the deceased, were transported to Reeves County Hospital
for treatment of their injuries. The bodies of Frederico Urias and Abram
Sandoval were taken to Pecos Funeral Home.
Moore's initial report said none of the passengers were wearing seat
belts, and it was uncertain who the driver of the Pontiac was at the time
of the accident.
Sandoval was a seismograph worker and was the father of three children,
while Urias was a fork lift operator and the father of two children. Both
men are survived by their wives and parents.
County Road 402 (North Hickory Street) has been the site of several
accidents over the past few years, including a truck-van accident at the
intersection of U.S. 285 and County Road 302 that left one person dead
and injured four others.
County agrees to help with lot for center
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 24, 2000 - A parking lot for the East Side Community Center
is one step closer to becoming a reality, following a decision by the Reeves
County Commissioners at their regular meeting held this morning.
Commissioners agreed to help with a parking lot for the center, through
an interlocal cooperation with the Town of Pecos City.
"They recently recycled the center and they don't have any parking,"
said Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 1 Felipe Arredondo.
He told the court that he wanted to place the item on the agenda to
see if the commissioners would agree to help out.
"There's an area north of the center that can be made into a parking
lot," he said.
Arredondo told the court that the city would have it on their agenda
at their next meeting.
"Do we still have any of that recycled material?" asked Reeves County
Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
"We still have plenty of it," said Road and Bridges Supervisor Russ
Salcido stated that there are a lot of places that the material can
be used at.
"If we could ask the city to do the base and pack it, it wouldn't be
that hard to haul the material over there," said Galindo.
"I'll see what they have to say at their next meeting," said Arredondo.
Commissioners authorized Arredondo to explore an interlocal agreement
with the City of Pecos on construction of a parking lot for the Community
Commissioners did approve an agreement between Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD
Testing Center and Reeves County Detention Center.
"This is a continuation of an agreement we had with them last year,"
said RCDC Warden Rudy Franco. "We haven't had any problems with them and
it's just a renewal."
Franco told the court the system has worked real well and reported no
Reclassification of an Emergency Medical Technician to registered nurse
for the RCDC was approved. "We have to have a registered nurse or foreign
medical student," said Franco. "There were times when the foreign student
was busy and could not be at the hospital and we had to call a physicians
He added that hiring an RN for the RCDC at $29,000 would be best for
the facility and that funds were available for the position.
Commissioners approved a new holiday leave policy for all Reeves County
Employees will be given one calendar year to take their holiday leave.
"If we make an allowance for the RCDC, we have to do it for all Reeves
County employees," said Galindo.
"I don't see any problems with it," said county auditor Lynn Owens.
"We'll have Ms. (Belinda) Salcido make the ratifications and then present
it to the court at the next meeting to spread on the minutes," he said.
Commissioners approved a payment to DRG Architects in the amount of
$4,894. "I recommend that you table the other payment request, because
it is a complete duplicate of one we have already paid," said Owens. "We
need to make sure what it is first."
The court voted against paying for damages that were incurred on a vehicle
on a county road.
"It happened on a cattle guard west of Toyah," said Road and Bridges
Administrator Russ Salcido.
The cattle guard was knocked out leaving a gap and an individual drove
through it and damaged his truck, according to Salcido.
"I spoke to Mr. (Joe) Vernon and he though we could settle it for $2,000,"
However, the insurance firm, Baron Risk Management, recommended that
the damage not be paid for and that the county had immunity, according
"Since the insurance has denied the claim, I doubt that legally we can
pay for it out of the general fund," said Owens.
"I don't think we should pay for this if the county has immunity," said
commissioner Precinct 4 Gilberto "Hivi" Rayos.
Commissioners agreed not to pay for the damage to the pickup truck owned
Toyah will have contested election for city council
PECOS, April 24, 2000 - The City of Toyah will have a contested election
for its two available city council positions in the May 6 area elections.
Friday's Enterprise stated there would be no conested races in Toyah
this year, but officials said there are three candidates running for the
two available seats. Paul Anthony Budlong, Sharon Sanchez and Bart F. Sanchez
are running for the city council, while Ann Marsh is unopposed in her race
for Toyah mayor.
Bart F. Sanchez' name was not on the list in Friday's paper of candidates
in Toyah. As a result, early voting in that race is currently underway,
along with those in the other city elections for the area, between now
and May 2. Early voting is also underway until that date in the school
elections for the Balmorhea ISD and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD boards, along
with those for the Reeves County Hospital District board and for the Ward
County Water Improvement District No. 1 in the Barstow area.
Vicente Muro, 80, of Pecos, died Saturday, April 22, 2000, at Odessa Medical
Center Hospital. Mass is scheduled for 3 p.m. today, at Santa Rosa Catholic
Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.
He was born April 5, 1920, in San Antonio Del Bravo Municipo Ojinaga,
Mexico, was a longtime Pecos resident, a farm laborer and a Catholic.
Survivors include his wife, Maria Muro of Pecos; three sons, Armando
Muro of Guadalupe, Mexico, Augustin Muro of Pecos and Oscar Muro of Barrieles,
Mexico; six daughters, Alicia Valles, Celia Muela, Dora Sanchez and Maria
Baeza of Pecos, Aurora "Loly" Tarango of Odessa and Juana Estrello of Carlsbad,
N.M.; four brothers, Vivian Muro of Monahans, Jose Muro of Fresno, Calif.,
Emiterio Muro of Big Lake and Manuel Muro of Phoenix, Ariz.; four sisters,
Maria Guillen of Levelland, Sophia Licon of Hobbs, N.M., Francisca Orozco
of Carlsbad, N.M. and Tomasa Mendoza of Pecos.
Martinez Funeral Home of Pecos is in charge of arrangements.
Abram Velasquez Sandoval, 34, of Pecos, died Friday, April 21, as a result
of an automobile accident. Mass is scheduled for 1 p.m., today at Santa
Rosa Catholic Church with Father Mike Alcuino. Burial will be in Greenwood
He was born May 15, 1965, in Presidio, was a seismographer, and a member
of Santa Rosa Catholic Church.
Survivors include his parents, Daniel and Pasquala Sandoval of Pecos;
two sons, Juan Adan and Abram Sandoval Jr. of Pecos; one daughter, Amy
Sandoval of Pecos; six sisters, Rosa Mesta, Adelita Sandoval Gonzales,
Lorena Munoz, Monica Orosco and Melissa Sandoval of Pecos; six brothers,
Fortino Jacob, Jesus, Victor and Daniel Sandoval Jr., of Pecos, Benito
Sandoval of Kermit and Hugo Sandoval of Barstow.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Melba Frankie Smith, died Sunday, April 23, at Clear Lake Hospital in Webster.
Memorial services will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, at the Bay Area
Baptist Church in League City.
She was born in Cisco, Tex. Oct. 22, 1922.
Survivors include two sons, Clifford Wooley of Cedar Hill and Terry
Wooley of Naples, Fla.; one daughter, Dianne Manigold of League City; two
sisters, Doris Tims of El Paso and Maxine Wickson of Pecos; two brothers,
Paul Smith of Midland and James P. Smith of Houston and seven grandchildren.
Federico Martinez Urias, 24, of Pecos, died Friday, April 21, 2000, as
a result of an auto accident.
A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass is scheduled for 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 25, at Santa Rosa Catholic
Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.
He was born Oct. 11, 1975, in Ojinaga, Chih., Mexico, was a longtime
Pecos resident, fork lift operator and a Catholic.
Survivors include his wife, Martina Armendariz Urias of Pecos; his parents,
Julia Martinez Urias; one son, Federico Urias, Jr. of Pecos; one daughter,
Leonela Urias of Pecos; four brothers, Humberto and Cesario Urias of Pecos,
Filomeno Urias of Gardendale and Ezequel Urias of Austin; five sisters,
Enedina Urias and Nancy Urias of Andrews, Yolanda Urias of Pecos, Juanie
Cereceres of El Paso and Heather Mendoza of Clovis, N.M.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Forrest Walker, 83, of Barstow, died Saturday, April 22, 2000, at Reeves
Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 25, 2000,
at Barstow Cemetery with Rev. J.R. Wooten.
He was born June 29, 1916, in Mercel, was a veteran who had served in
World War II, had lived in Barstow since 1961, and was a Lutheran.
Survivors include his wife, Theresa Walker of Barstow; one step-daughter,
Sherri Goode Bonilla of El Paso; one brother, Ernest Walker of Texas City,
and one grandson.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, April 24, 2000 - High Sunday 93. Low this morning 61. Forecast for
tonight: Tonight: Mostly clear. Low 50-55. Southeast wind 5-10 mph. Tuesday:
Partly cloudy. High in the mid 80s. Northeast wind 5-15 mph. Tuesday night:
Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 40s. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High in
the lower 90s.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise