Fire in abandoned Pharaoh Valley golf course threatens homes

Firefighters were called out to Pharaoh Valley around noon Thursday after a grass fire broke out near the old golf course.

CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - Firefighters were called out to Pharaoh Valley around noon Thursday after a grass fire broke out near the old golf course.

According to the Corpus Christi Fire Department, the flames got within 150 feet of the homes along Hathor Drive, but firefighters were able to keep the flames back.

"When they arrived it looked like we had about a half-acre involved," CCFD Battalion Chief Michael Gilley said. "It was in an area that was not accessible. We had to gain access through the old Pharaoh's golf course and make our way into position in order to put the fire out."

CCFD trucks set up nearby along Aswan Drive as firefighters spent almost an hour getting the fire under control by around 1:30 p.m. At that point, firefighters said it would take another couple hours to clear the scene.

Fire officials said about three or four acres burned, and are not sure what caused the blaze. Thankfully, no structures were damaged.

The area, once a thriving golf course and country club, is now overgrown with weeds. Fire officials said about three or four acres burned, and it was fortunate that they were able to keep the flames from the nearby homes.

At the peak of the blaze, the 3News tower cam could see smoke spread across the Corpus Christi horizon, with viewers on Facebook commenting that the smoke drifted as far as Saratoga and Airline in the city's southside, and could be seen from as far south as Yorktown.

Many residents are now asking if the fire could reignite interest in redeveloping the abandoned golf course.

"It's very concerning," Pharaoh Valley resident Dillon Farley said. "It's just more of a reason we need to develop this area back here. You know, this is what happens when we let our backyard turn to this."

Farley is among the majority of Pharaoh Valley residents in favor of the proposed $300 million Barisi Village project, which is currently tied up in litigation filed by a handful of people in opposition to the development.

"It's a fire waiting to happen," homeowner Melanie Hardie said. "It's problems waiting to happen."

Hardie is a member of the homeowners association and is in favor of the Barisi Village project.

"In fact, my husband is the one who is named in the suit," Hardie said. "He's the one being sued over this golf course because he was the petition circulator."

Homeowners said the fire should be a wakeup call to those opposed to the project, but feel it may never happen.

"They're very stubborn and they're set in their ways," Hardie said. "They believe what they believe even though the rest of the neighborhood wants to see progress. We have three people holding us back."

3News reached out to several representatives of the opposition to the Barisi Village project but were not able to get through.

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