ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Sweetwater residents and firefighters reflected on chaos Monday, that one structure fire brought over the weekend. In its destruction, the fire blew up a transformer and even caused a firefighter in Rosco to seek medical attention.

The fire began at a building next to Sweewater Collision – an auto body shop – in the 100 block of West Broadway Street Saturday night. It blew up a transformer, causing many residents to lose power, including Marla Reddic.

When she lost power, Reddic said she didn’t know what could have caused the outage, so she went outside and saw the huge flames near her home. 

“The flames were so large that we considered, yes it could’ve spread this way,” said Reddic. 

Due to the lack of power and air conditioning in 100-degree Big Country heat, the Reddic family evacuated to a hotel for the night.

“Our five-year-old grandson was here, and we have a 12-year-old pomeranian that doesn’t do well with the heat,” Reddic reasoned. “So that’s when we decided to start looking for a hotel room.”

While the Reddic family was temporarily without power, Sweetwater Collision’s Michael Philips lost everything he’s worked towards for the past 17 years.

“I mean, it was my life for sure,” Phillips, owner of the building said. “I mean, it was everything that I had.”

He stared at what was left of the building, still processing what he should do next. 

“I’m just crushed, I’m stripped of everything, you know,” Phillips said. 

According to Fire Marshal James Smith, when the transformer blew up, it affected radio systems, delaying fire response.

“When they tried to page us out to go to the fire, they actually were not able to reach us by radio,” Marshal Smith said. 

Be that as it may, members of the Sweetwater Fire Department (SFD) saw smoke from afar and were still able to get to the fire within five minutes – which is goal response time for firefighters. Around 8:30, SFD called for backup and crews stayed out until 2:00 a.m. battling the structure fire.

“They did a good job, but they were exhausted by the time we finished this,” Marshal Smith praised. 

Fire Captain Keegan Pruitt with Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department (RVFD) worked tirelessly to help until he couldn’t anymore. 

“Due to the amount of smoke I had breathed in and the temperatures… It just takes a toll on you,” said Captain Pruitt. 

In Pruitt’s 10 years with RVFD, he said he’d never before had to seek medical assistance. Monday, he told KTAB/KRBC he was doing much better, but still had some difficulty breathing.

“If we wouldn’t have had the people doing rehab behind the scenes, it definitely could have been a lot worse,” Captain Pruitt said. 

The fire eventually did come to an end, but crews are still having to manage and monitor hot spots. In the meantime, some Sweetwater residents are still without power because of the fire. ONCOR and AT&T said they are working to repair and resolve.