VAN ALSTYNE — The Van Alstyne Fire Department was called at 10:39 p.m. Wednesday to a fire behind Cavender Motors on U.S. Highway 75’s west service road. Van Alstyne City Manager Frank Baker, who also serves as fire chief, said there were 20 cars, a storage container and tires destroyed. Success in extinguishing the massive blaze was accomplished by the use of foam along with water, Baker said.
Van Alstyne Fire Department Lt. Ryan Dockery led the battle, with help from volunteer and career firefighters from the Van Alstyne agency, as well as the Howe and Gunter fire departments. The battle was hampered, to some extent, because of the many vehicles parked around Cavender’s building, which slowed down access to the back side and the active fire, Baker said. Police officers blocking the service road on both ends of the fire said they were doing so as a precaution to injury because of the amount of flammable liquids near the fire.
Baker said the flames did not latch onto the Cavender Motors building.
Because the fire was between the Van Alstyne and Howe city limits, the investigation is being conducted by the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office and Grayson County Fire Marshal Kevin Walton. Sheriff Tom Watt said investigators, along with Walton, spent all day Thursday putting together details of the investigation.
The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office reported that it arrested a 41-year-old man early Wednesday morning on a charge of burglary of Cavender Motors. He remains in Grayson County Jail with bail set at $5,000. GCSO Sgt. Nikki McDonald said that it is unknown if the fire and the burglary could be connected.
It was at 6:11 a.m. Wednesday when the Sheriff’s Office got a call about a vehicle being at Cavender Motors and the caller described the vehicle. A deputy arrived and saw the described vehicle pulling a trailer with brush guards. A Cavender Motors representative came to the dealership and claimed the items on the trailer belonged to the company and the man did not have permission to remove them from the property, McDonald reported.
“It is unknown at this time if any other parties were involved, or if the two incidents are linked,” McDonald said. “The Sheriff’s Office is still investigating.”
The business’ owner, Matt Cavender, was not available by phone to talk about the loss Thursday.