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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 8, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels . FRIDAY February 9, 2003 14 pages in 2 sections mmmmm    mmmmmmmmmmm    14    pages    in    2    SectiiHerald-Zeitung Vol. 152, No* 74Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Teen arrested on arson charge By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A 17-year-old New Braunfels boy was arrested early Friday and booked on a felony arson charge in connection with Thursday night’s fire that destroyed a home and a chemical warehouse on Engel Road. David Buffington was booked into Comal County Jail on a charge of arson causing injury, which is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Investigators believe Buff- Inside Abby....................................5A Church Directory....................7A Classifieds...........................3-6B Comics................................8A Crossword..........................5A Forum.................................6A Local/State.........................4A Movies................................SA Obituaries................  *..3A Sports ..................1-2B Today..................................2A Key Code 76 8    56825    00001    1How to help Amo Voigt was left homeless by the fire that destroyed a chemical warehouse and his residence Thursday night. He needs clothing, necessity items, household goods and items such as a television or a radio. Voigt’s clothing sizes are: ■ Pants: 54" waist, 30" inseam; ■ Shirts: triple X; ■ Coat: 4X, and ■ Shoes: 11EE Please call 627-6784. ington broke into the warehouse and set the fire. As officials began cleanup and assessed environmental impacts, it became clear Friday that by any measure, the explosive blaze that destroyed the TEMTEX Solvents Corp. warehouse is one of the biggest fires in the city’s history. Multiple explosions that sent burning chemicals hundreds of feet into the air threw 55-gallon drums like soft drink cans, dropping some of them through nearby roofs and creating a debris field that stretched more than one-half mile across. New Braunfels Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter said the loss from the fire, including a hazardous material cleanup effort that began early Friday, would reach more than $1 million. “We’ve done a lot of damage assessment, and it’s going to be expensive,” Brinkkoeter said. “With the structures everything included, it will be well over a $1 million fire. We lost the warehouse and its contents, a home and we had damage that ranged fromSee ARSON/3A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Ducking for cover as flames, embers and debris explode into the night, New Braunfels Fire Chief John Herber (left) and engineer Jack Ward continue to battle the Thursday night fire investigators now say was arson. Challenge of adventure racing lures competitive brothers By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer The G Force is coming down a trail to an adventure race near you. It’s composed of three natives of New Braunfels, the Gomez brothers — Fred, Javier and Roger. The G Force routinely enters races consisting of running for four to six miles, paddling an inflatable canoe for one to three miles and riding a mountain bike for 12 to 20 miles. Sometimes they compete together. Sometimes they compete solo. One of the brothers, Roger Gomez, is competing today in the Texas Challenge Adventure Race at the K.L, Ranch off River Road. At a glance Those interested in sponsoring the G Force can call Roger Gomez on his cell phone at 708-7235. For Biose interested in learning about today's Texas Challenge Adventure Race and other adventure races, there’s a Web site at wwwTerraflimapromo axTvtexasdiaSenge Thursday, Gomez talked about why he competes in the races. “I got into it doing small races like The Race For The Cure’ — three-mile, 5K runs,” he said. Gomez, who played football and soccer at Canyon High School, said he, Fred and Javier have always been athletic. “We like to stay in shape,” he said. The Gomez brothers are one-and-one-half years apart. They’re very competitive in anything they do. Whether it’s playing a round of golf, or just running, each plays to win. Fred started doing triathlons and eventually found out about adventure racing. He got into it. . See RACING/3A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Roger Gomez rides in the Texas Challenge Adventure Race today In which he will bike, canoe and trek the Comal County countryside at the K.L. Ranch off River Road. CISD, county ante up for light By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SMITHSON VALLEY Construction of the traffic signal planned for the Texas 46/FM 3159 intersection will begin within one week. The Comal Independent School District and Comal County agreed Friday morning to split the $100,000 cost of the signal. Light donation Can you help pay for the Texas 46/FM 3159 traffic signal? Mail a check to: Attn.: Abel Campos Comal Independent School District 1421 N. Business 35, New Braunfels, Texas 78130 The district writ provide a letter of receipt for tax purposes. The school district cut a check for the entire amount and presented it to the Texas Department of Transportation to get the project rolling. Comal County will pay CISD for half the cost of the project — less whatever public donations might be made. And those donations started rolling in Friday. Michael Maurer, whose family owns property near the intersection, donated $1,000 at the CISD board meeting called at 7 a.m. Herb Schneider donated the same amount to the county- Precinct I Commissioner Jack Dawson praised the actions of both boards and the donations made by Maurer and Schneider. “I’m ecstatic with the way the CISD picked up the ball and ran with it,” Dawson said of the developments Friday. “Comal County did the lead blocking and together we made a touchdown today. The Maurers and the Schneiders showed their true colors today as well, and we sure do appreciate them. This is wonderful news.” The county, the school district and residents have expressed concerns for years about the intersection near Smithson Valley High School. On a number of occasions, TxDOT has examined the crossing, which is ultimately slated for a “grade separation" overpass. Each t ime, the intersection has failed to meet traffic standards for a signal light — See LIGHT/4A sweep nets IO K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zertung (Above) New Braunfels police officer Gilbert Caraballo, right, follows Lt. John Villarreal into the house of Johnny Rosales, left, who was arrested by an undercover narcotics agent on drug-related allegations. (Far left) Following his arrest, Luis F. Robales awaits booking in the county jail Friday afternoon. (Left) Caraballo walks one of several people officers served warrants on Friday to his patrol car for transport to jail for booking. Mass drug Undercover investigation yields 22 indictments By Ron Maloney Staff Writer It was a sight repeated around New Braunfels at least IO times Friday, in one fashion or another. Three police cars — one a patrol car with a cage in the back and the other two unmarked — pull up in front of a local home. That’s how it was just before ll a.m. for Juan “Johnny” Rosales, 25, who lives on Grape Avenue. While three plain-clothed officers sprinted to the back of his home, officers Heath Purvis and Gilbert Caraballo went to the front door and knocked — with their gyns drawn. Rosales answered — and was arrested for alleged possession of narcotics. As the detectives searched his home, he sat handcuffed in the front yard while young men in See DRUG/3A ;