New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 26, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
WFDNFSDAYNew Braunfels February % 2003
14 pages in 2 sections
^hpmmihm| 14 pages in 2 sectuHerald-/ eitung UVol. 152, No. 90 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents
Space heaters might have contributed to fire
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
A 43-year-old New Braunfels man was killed and his wife critically injured in the fire that destroyed their mobile home early Tuesday.
New Braunfels Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter said Dennis D. Forster was found dead in his residence in the Linde Avenue mobile home park.
His wife, Susan, 38, was taken to McKenna Memorial Hospital and then to Brooke Army Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation.
A BAMC official said Tuesday afternoon that Susan Forster was in critical condition.
Brinkkoeter said neighbors who saw an orange glow through the windows of the Forster home called the city’s 9-1-1 dispatch center at 6:31 a.m.
Neighbors helped Susan Forster from the residence through its back door.
Arriving firefighters found the Forster residence, an older model mobile home, fully in flames.
“As soon as they got here, they had a report that someone was possibly inside,” Brinkkoeter said.
Firefighters went into the home by the rear entrance, but were defeated in rescue attempts by the flames inside, Brinkkoeter said.
“There was fire consuming the whole inside of the building. Rescue was attempted, but they were pushed back by intense flames,” Brinkkoeter said.
The fire appeared to have started in the living room/kitchen area of the home, Brinkkoeter said. He and Deputy State Fire Marshal Tbmmy Huber-tus were continuing their investigation into the cause late in the afternoon.
“It appears to be accidental,” Brinkkoeter said.
The home was heated with electric space heaters, Brinkkoeter said.
“There were numerous heaters in the house. It was cold and they were trying to stay warm,” he said.
Brinkkoeter said he would list the cause as “undetermined.”
Tara Brinkkoeter, branch manager for the New Braunfels American Red Cross office, said her agency offers aid to families displaced by fire*.
She said the Red Cross would help Susan Forster — if needed — as she recovers. It could help with shelter needs for up to two or three days, food and clothing.
“As of right now, we pretty much have to let the hospital do their work. We want to help and do everything we can, but the hospital is doing everything that’s needed right now," Tara Brinkkoeter said.
Deputy State Fire Marshal Tommy Hubertus,
New Braunfels Fire Inspector Brett Neely and New Braunfels Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter (from left) discuss the possible origins of a Tuesday morning fire that destroyed a mobile home and killed Dennis D. Forster, 43.
Arctic blast wreaks
New Braunfels Police officer Tim Brinkkoeter holds the hand of Jose A. Velasquez, who was trapped under his Ford Taurus after propping the car up on an icy concrete curb at H-E-B to work underneath it.
Brinkkoeter jacked the car up, and rescue personnel performed CPR. Velasquez was listed in stable condition at University Hospital Tuesday afternoon. He was not breathing and had no pulse when he was transported from the scene.
Man escapes death after car falls on him
By Ron Maloney
A 33-year-old Austin man narrowly escaped death Tuesday when the car he was repairing fell on him in a New Braunfels parking lot.
Police and firefighters performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Jose A. Velasquez as he was pulled from beneath his car and taken by ambulance to
McKenna Memorial Hospital.
From there, he was driven to University Hospital in San Antonio, where a .spokesman said late Tuesday afternoon Velasquez was in stable condition.
Police and firefighters were dispatched to the H-E-B parking lot at the corner of Walnut Avenue and Business 35 at ll a.m. for a report that a man was lying trapped under a car.
Police officer Tim Brinkkoeter
was first at the scene.
He saw Velasquez’s lower body protruding from beneath the car. The man was unresponsive and was not moving.
Bnnkkoeter pulled a hydraulic floor jack from the trunk of his patrol car and lifted the vehicle oil Velasquez. He pulled the man from beneath the car, an older model Ford Taurus. Brinkkoeter felt no pulse, and Velasquez was not breathing.
“We started CPR immediately," Brinkkoeter said.
The officer was joined in the lifesaving effort by officers Chris Peltier and Usbaldo Patino.
Scattered beneath the car were socket wrenches and a cellular telephone that rang while the officers worked to save Velasquez.
Police Sgt. Mike Rutherford See ESCAPES/7A
Weather yields wrecks, closures
The lion’s head on the fountain at Main Plaza quickly froze after temperatures plummeted around New Braunfels Monday evening.
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
A winter freezing rain storm closed both local school districts and many businesses and caused numerous traffic accidents early Tuesday.
Sandy Williamson with the Texas Department of Transportation office in New Braunfels said at mid-morning Tuesday the only local highway closure was on southbound Interstate 35 at Cibolo Creek in Selma.
“We’re detouring everyone onto the frontage road,” she said.
As for the rest of Interstate 35, she said the closure situation could change at any time.
“We’re keeping it sanded as much as we can. Everything is icing up so fast, we’re having trouble keeping up,” Williamson said.
New Braunfels police Sgt. David Wilson reported 18 traffic accidents on roads and streets in the city limits between 6 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m. Tuesday — none with life-
At a glance
For information on Comal County roads call the County Road Department, 608-2090 For information on state highways call the Texas Department of Transportation's road condition hotline 1-800-452-9292 or log onto http://www.dot.state.tx.us/.
After 7 a.m. as traffic picked up, there were numerous more accidents on Interstate 35 — five of them rollovers.
"The frontage roads over the Guadalupe River and Texas 46 to Boerne are closed,” Wilson said.
Both the New Braunfels and Comal Independent School districts cancelled classes Tuesday because of widespread icy road conditions.
Casteel drafts bill to use hotel tax for river cleanup
By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer
State Rep. Carter Casteel, R-New Braunfels, will rely upon the precedence of former legislation concerning state waterways to try to push a bill through Legislature that would use state funds for river cleanup.
New Braunfels City Council unanimously voted Monday night to support Casteel as she requests a part of the state’s share of the Hotel Occupancy Tax, or room tax, collected in the city to fund cleanup efforts on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers.
Room tax is 13 percent in New Braunfels. Six percent goes to the state, and 7 percent goes to the city. Casteel would like to retain a sixth of the state’s share for river cleanup.
Other Texas cities have asserted that their waterways and beaches are state property and should be partly funded by the state. Legislation that gives HOT funds back to Galveston, South Padre and Corpus Christi for waterway maintenance have been passed in the last four years.See RIVER/3AInside
Key Code 76
18-year-old student files in CISD race
By Sean Bowlin
An 18-year-old New Braunfels High School student has announced his candidacy for the Comal Independent School District Board of Trustees.
Randy Shelton said Tuesday he is seeking election to the District 5 post currently held by Deraid LaRue.
LaRue has not announced if he plans to seek re-election.
Shelton was filing his papers Tuesday afternoon, he said.
Shelton, who lives in Spring Branch in District 5 and whose mother teaches
at NBHS, said why he plans to run.
‘The reason I’m running is the fact that I’m tired of nothing being done,” Shelton said. “My constituents are tired of nothing being done, and so I feel it’s necessary for me to enter into this race. Hopefully, if I’m elected, I will see something being done — more than what is being done.”
Shelton said that the state of Texas was squeezing funds, local taxes were rising and people were mad about it.
“What I want to see is a cooperation between the state and the school district so the school district can
lower taxes and bring back a budget where we won’t have to raise taxes so high,” said the teenager.
Shelton joins Dora L. Gonzales, Rose Cervin, board President Dan K. Krueger and Randy Pawelek in announcing election campaigns for the board.
Anyone interested in filing for the election must be a registered voter; live in the single-member district they are filing for, and have been residents of the district for six months.
Early voting starts April 16 and ends April 29. Polling locations for all four CISD single-member districts will be announced later.
■Hi. I 'fcHi H-A Hi itth ■ si