A fire broke out in a section of Murdock’s Mini Storage in downtown Devine in the early morning hours of Friday, August 10, 2018. Six of the 20 mini storage units had severe if not total damage. One of the units had a 1967 Corvette inside. Most had some sort of furniture and household goods, including in one instance a lawn mower.
“A neighbor heard some popping noises and saw the smoke coming out near Unit #50,” owner Mrs. Faye Murdock said. “We are so thankful for our neighbors and all the fire departments for coming out and helping in the middle of the night to put out the fire, ” she said. “We are so sorry and sad it happened. We built our original storage units about 1977 and added others as we paid those off. These were not some of the first ones. They were added later.”
According to her granddaughter Sandy Lawler, who helps her grandparents with the business, “These units were probably built in the late 70s or early 80s. I am sure my Papaw will remember.
” I got the call about 4:15 am and headed into town. I could see the smoke billowing up high into the sky as I go onto Hwy. 173. I was surprised when I got here that is was mostly smoke at first and not huge flames like I imagined.”
The Bexar County Fire Marshall’s Office came out to investigate.
“They determined it was not arson,” Sgt. Chris Andrews of the Devine Police Department said. “Seven units were destroyed.” Probable cause is, “Electrical but we can’t determine if it’s from the wiring or extensions from the tenants,” Andrews said.
Of the 20 storage spaces, Units 50, 51, and 52, and Units 60, 61, and 62 had the most severe damage as the fire started on the end where they are located.
The ceiling was wood with a metal roof and wood and particle board connecting walls. The firemen fought the fire as it worked its way down the ceiling divider between the units. Ten units were on the front side and 10 matching units on the back side, sharing a common wall and ceiling.
The fire department wasn’t able to cut the locks off the units due to the extreme heat, so they cut a “V” section in the door of each unit to let the smoke out. The other 14 units had smoke and water damage on the far end as the main fire was contained to the front end, the units right under the big oak trees across the street from the Murdocks’ home and office on Hayden Drive. It is located a block behind Juan’s Tacos and Felipe’s Tire Shop and across the street.
Once the investigation was over and insurance looked over the damage to the main structure, the tenants were all called.
“We do have a few open storage units we can offer them,” Mrs. Murdock said.