New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 5, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
Wife found alive hanging in nearby tree; cause of fire still undetermined
By Peri Stone and Chris Crews
The charred body of a 72-year-old New Braunfels man was found early Tuesday morning in his burned log cabin home at 475 Hueco Springs Loop.
Comal County Fire Marshal Lin Manford said officials at the scene heard a call for help and found Hartwig’s 61-year-old wife, Adele, hanging from a tree about 250 yards from the cabin by a strip of white cloth.
The body of Harold Hartwig was recovered from the ashes and taken to the Travis County Medical Examiners Office for an autopsy around 9:30 a.m. Officials there determined Tuesday afternoon that his death was caused by the fire.
Adele Hartwig has been questioned in connection with the fire but has not been chaiged with any crime.
She was taken to McKenna Memorial Hospital before being questioned by the sheriff's department and was staying with family in New Braunfels on Tuesday, investigators said.
Officials said the cause of the fire, reported by an anonymous caller about I a.m. Tuesday, remained undetermined. Adele Hartwig was found hanging in the tree about an hour later.
New Braunfels Fire Department and Canyon Lake Fire/EMS responded to the call.
The fire raged in the log cabin for more than an hour before firefighters could extinguish it.
“It got real hot," Manford said. “The tin roof made it like an oven in there.”
The investigation was delayed for about three hours later Tuesday morning as federal officers were called in because of the “excessive”Have Information?
Investigators into the fire at 475 Hueco Springs Loop early Tuesday morning are asking for cooperation from the public.
Detective Tommy Ward of the sheriffs office asked that the anonymous person who reported the fire early Tuesday contact him as soon as possible at 620-3400.
amount of firearms found on the property, Manford said.
Harold Hartwig reportedly owned more than IOO guns and stored diem in a closet in the den, Manford and several neighbors said.
Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team from Fort Sam Houston cleared the area of weapons and searched for explosives.
Hueco Springs Loop, which connects with Texas 46 west of New Braunfels and runs north and east to River Road, was closed to through traffic during the search.
Manford said his office was working with the state fire marshal's office to determine the cause of the fire. The investigation resumed about 2 p.m.
In the north side of the house, a tin roof had collapsed where two bedrooms, the living room and den were located. The remaining logs of the cabin were burned black.
A sign at the front of the house that read “Hart Wig’s Last Stand” remained.
Items found among the ashesSee BLAZE/3A
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Vol. 148, No. 119 18 pages in 2 sections May 5, 1999 xtt t Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents
WednesdayLocal man dies in blaze
RODIN CORNETT HeraM-Zeitung
A member of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal team at Fort Sam Houston visits with a local deputy fire marshal Tuesday at the scene of a fire that killed Harold Hartwig. His wife, Adele, was found hanging from a nearby tree.
Top photo, Comal County Fire Marshal Un Manford points out where weapons remained following a deadly fire Tuesday in a log cabin home at 475 Hueco Springs Loop. The blaze claimed the life of Harold Hartwig, 72, who lived in the home with his 61-year-old wife, Adele. Above, a home healthcare worker who made frequent visits to the home speaks with sheriffs deputies.History of domestic violence haunted victim, wife
By Chris Crews
Violence has been a frequent visitor to the log cabin at 475 Hueco Springs Loop.
Sheriff^ deputies have responded to more than a dozen calls at the home of Adele and Harold Hartwig in the past three years. Most were for domestic disturbances and family violence.
On April 28, officers responded to a report of a disturbance at the home. Adele, 61, and Harold, 72, were arrested and
booked into the county jail on charges of assault causing bodily to a family member. Bond was set at $500 each.
Jeannie Medrano of A-Bail Bonds arranged bail for Harold Hartwig about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and gave him a ride home. Harold called Medrano the next day and asked her to arrange bond for his wife. She did so and drove her back to the house.
Medrano said the pair cried and talked about each other on the trips from the jail to the house on the loop.
“They seemed like they could be happy, but they needed some help,” Medrano said.
The most dramatic episode occurred in the summer of 1997. Deputy Wayne Lehman responded to the call and found Harold Hartwig lying in a chair with a bullet hole just below his sternum.
Lehman said Adele Hartwig gave three different accounts as to how her husband had been wounded.
“She was trying to pass it off as a bullet through the roof, and that was not the case,” Lehman said.
Harold Hartwig was transported to University Hospital in San Antonio and treated for his injuries. He returned to his home on Hueco Springs Loop to complete his recuperation.
Sheriff’s investigators prepared a case implicating Adele Hartwig in the shooting, but the case never w as presented to the grand jury. Harold Hartwig signed an affidavit of non-prosecution against his wife.
Criminal District Attorney Dib Waldnp said he did not prosecute the case because the physical evidence was consistent with
Adele's story of an accidental misfire.
“His testimony would support her story,” Waldrip said.
Waldrip said the case was closed.
Officers answered a call of family violence at the residence on June I, 1998. Adele Hartwig was taken to McKenna Memorial Hospital and treated for unspecified injuries. She signed an affidav it of non-prosecution against her husband and no action was taken in the case.
She then returned home to recuperate from her injuries.
Lot size might be on the rise
By Chris Crews
The minimum lot size for housing developments in Comal County might increase when county commissioners meet Thursday to revise subdivision rules and regulations.
The meeting will begin at 8:15 a.m. in the commissioners courtroom, 150 N. Seguin.
Current regulations allow for a one-half acre lot with a public water supply or a three-acre lot with a private well.
County Commissioner Jack Dawson said the new rules called for a minimum one-acre lot with public water and five acres with a private well.
“The change is necessary to manage the water supply and to manage growth,” he said.
Kendall and Hays counties have rules similar those the court will consider.
Dawson said land platted and anything under consideration by the road department finished in the next six months would not be affected.Inside
Key Code 76
NBISD taking steps to keep schools safe
By Heather Tooo Staff Writer
As the nation continues to search for answers in the senseless murders of 12 students and one teacher at a Colorado high school more than two weeks ago, school administrators and parents gathered Tuesday night to strategize ways to prevent the problem of school violence before it begins.
About 30 concerned parents attended a meeting with New Braunfels Independent School District administrators and law enforcement
representatives to rev iew local district security policies and voice their concerns about safety at schools.
The New Braunfels ISD Safe School task force, comprised of 15 community, school, and law enforcement officials, was charged with assessing the district’s crisis management plans and making necessary adjustments to ensure student and faculty safety.
The district annually reviews its crisis management plans, which prepare faculty in the event of natural disasters, hostage situations, kid
nappings and bomb threats.
In the face of the Littleton, Colo., shootings and a foiled terrorist attack in Wimberley, school administrators assured local parents that schools continued to be the safest place for their children.
John Turman, assistant superintendent for administrative and pupil services, said there was a 30 percent decrease in school-related shooting deaths last year.
Turman also said the likelihood of becoming a victim of school-associ-