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Texas fire destroys 1,554 homes, 17 people missing

Sep 11, 2011 10:18:00 PM - thestate.com
Drawn to the quaint Central Texas town of Bastrop by the promise of life in a quiet, wooded area, Frank Davis moved into his new home two Saturdays ago. The next day, he and his wife evacuated when a monster wildfire moved in.

Now, there's nothing left.

"The fire was so hot, there are even panes of glass that melted," said Davis, a 47-year-old home remodeler who came to Bastrop from Austin, about 30 miles away. "It's all gone."

The number of homes destroyed by a still-raging wildfire here rose on Sunday to 1,554 and will increase further as emergency crews enter areas where the blaze has been extinguished. Seventeen people remain unaccounted for, but officials believe they could simply be out of town.

Bastrop County officials joined by Democratic U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett sought to provide new information to hundreds of residents evacuated a week ago, when blustering wind whipped up by Tropical Storm Lee swept across parched, drought-stricken Texas - helping to spark more than 190 wildfires statewide that killed four people.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)