A fire broke out in Robstown just after 1 a.m. Thursday, across from the Police Department on Main Street. It destroyed a gymnastics studio and a vacant Dollar General store.
The massive fire left four firefighters injured. One had to be flown to a burn unit in San Antonio. That firefighter had burns to his face, arms and leg. He has been identified as Battalion Chief J.D. Johnson with the Corpus Christi Fire Department.
The good news is that he is expected to recover.
The State Fire Marshal has been called in to help with the investigation to figure out what caused the blaze.
It was a massive blaze that lit the night sky over Main Street in Robstown, resulting in a fire fight that lasted for several hours.
Flames consumed an old theater which was most recently being used as a gymnastics center. It also destroyed a nearby vacant Dollar General.
"The fire kept spreading and it kept getting bigger," said Eddie Hernandez, whose computer shop is right next door. His business was spared by the flames.
"We were concerned the windows were going to break, from all the pressure and everything," Hernandez said. "When we got here they asked us to open the back door to let out some of the heat and pressure."
Firefighters from Annaville, Bluntzer and Corpus Christi were called in to help those already battling the fire in Robstown. As crews worked to control the blaze, four fire fighters were injured, including the 18-year veteran Johnson, who suffered the most serious burns.
"The roof was weakened, collapsed, and forced all the fire out of the opening," said Captain James Brown of the CCFD. "That is how the firefighter appears to have been burned."
"He's one of us," Robstown Fire Chief Ricardo Gonzalez said. "Our prayers go out to him and his family, hoping he's okay."
As firefighters try to figure out a cause, the main concern now is keeping onlookers away from the damage. There are fears that the rest of the building could collapse at any time.
Johnson is being treated at San Antonio Military Medical Center, and is expected to remain hospitalized for three to five days.
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