A bonfire started at Lake Ft. Phantom by eight ACU sophomores the evening of Aug. 19 was interrupted by the sudden arrival of two fire trucks.
Meigan Gardner and Eric Schinske were two of the eight sophomores present during the bonfire.
“Basically we all just went out to hang out and catch up about our summers,” said Gardner, Ad/PR major from Atlanta, GA.
“We just got some wood and went out to the boat ramp out past Wal-mart and started a bonfire,” said Schinske, social work major from Argyle.
Gardner said she went to the lake with friends she had made during her freshman year. They came back to Abilene to help with Welcome Week and wanted to spend some time together before starting the new school year. She said they started the bonfire around 11 p.m.
Schinske said the fire had been burning for almost 40 minutes when the Abilene Fire Dept. drove up.
“We just saw the lights and were kind of confused,” he said.
The firemen got out of the trucks and asked the students if they knew Taylor County was under a burn ban. Because the students just returned to Abilene, some from out of state, they said they were unaware of the burn ban.
According to the Texas Forest Service, there are guidelines for outdoor burning. When a burn ban is in effect all outdoor burning is banned. The burn ban for Taylor County was issued in early July.
The firemen said someone from across the lake had seen the fire and called the fire department. They told the students they were not in trouble, but the firemen did put out the bonfire.
Schinske said they had bonfires at the lake frequently last year and they just wanted to “kick off the year.” He said the firemen were nice about the event and even took pictures with the students.
Gardner said the firemen were laughing with the students and asked where they were from.
“They were really cool about it,” she said.