Williamson County judge loses home in house fire

Hutto firefighters said a house belonging to Williamson County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Judy Hobbs on County Road 134 is a total loss after a fire burned through the majority of the structure. 

The fire started about 12:45 friday afternoon. No one was home at the time so there were no injuries. 
Hutto firefighters could see heavy smoke from more than a mile away as they raced to the scene of the house fire. When they arrived, they realized the flames had already spread from an RV on the property to the attic of a nearby home. 

“There were no injuries to the homeowners, to the neighbors, or to any of the firefighters, but it is a total loss,” said Hutto Fire Rescue Chief Scott Kerwood.  

Hobbs released a statement saying her home is destroyed but she is grateful there were no injuries. 

“I've been Constable 21 years and she's been judge longer than that, so I've known her for a very long time. So it does make it difficult when you know the people, but it's a tragedy for anybody and you just don't ever want to see anybody go through this,” said Williamson County Constable Marty Ruble, precinct 4.  

There was one thing working in first responders' favor Friday afternoon. 

“It is fortunate for us that we had this good south wind because it did keep the fire away from other structures that were close by,” Ruble said.  

However, because the home is out in the county, firefighters did face another obstacle. 

“When you're out in the rural area, the biggest challenge becomes water. So we carry a lot of water with us, we bring water with us, but then when you have a house that's fully involved like that, it takes a lot more water,” said Kerwood.  

Fire departments from Taylor, Thrall, Weir and Round Rock helped by bringing additional water to the scene. Unfortunately, the flames had already eaten away at the attic and walls, leaving the structure unstable.  

“They're having to pull that down to keep it from being a collapse hazard, falling over and hurting somebody,” Kerwood said. 

The fire department said the ground is still very dry in Hutto and the home that burned is fairly close to other structures.  So, although they lost one home, it could've been much worse. 

The Fire Marshal is still working to determine the exact cause of the fire. 

Chief Kerwood said it's important for everyone to be careful with any kind of open flame, especially as the weather heats up this summer.