When firefighters first attempted to get into the home, the smoke was too thick, forcing them to retreat and go into what Chief Matt Manshack called “defensive mode.”
ORANGE, Texas — Firefighters have contained the blaze that destroyed the home of former National Football League player and Southeast Texas native Earl Thomas.
The house is located at FM 1130 and Bear Path Drive in Orange.
Little Cypress Fire and Orange County ESD 3 Chief Matt Manshack says they received the call around 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
First responders noticed heavy smoke and flames on the southeast corner of Thomas’ home.
When they tried to get in, the smoke was too thick, so they had to retreat and go into what he called “defensive mode.”
The cause of the fire is unconfirmed, but officials aren’t ruling out lightning as a possible cause.
Reviewing radar data, 12news StormTrackers found plenty of light on the storms that swept through Orange on Thursday afternoon.
Chief Manshack says they’re investigating whether the lighting could be to blame, but he confirmed to 12news that no one was hurt by the fire.
He also says Thomas’s house was completely destroyed.
“When we got to the scene, the guys, the fire crew, found severe fire conditions in that corner. We can’t bring it under control quickly. Because of the size of the structure, they decided to go ahead and pull out and just deal with it defensively,” he said.
Fire Marshal Randy Ener of the Orange Fire Department says firefighters who were first on the scene spoke with Thomas briefly. Thomas then got into what officers believe was his mother’s car and drove away.
Ener says he heard that Thomas’ mother often came to the home to take care of Thomas’ children.
An official told 12News he had no reason to believe the fire was intentional, but they are waiting for the state firefighter to arrive on Friday and investigate the cause.
This is an evolving story. We will update with more information when we receive more confirmed information.
On May 14, 2022, Thomas was arrested at Spanky’s Bar and Grill in Orange on an Austin warrant for violating a court protection order stemming from allegedly sending his wife threatening messages about her and their children.
Thomas was committed to the Orange County Jail and soon released. His bail was set at $15,000.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that Thomas owns a home in West Austin with his estranged wife and also spends time in Orange, where he grew up.
An April 27 arrest warrant charged Thomas with violating the protective order two or more times in a 12-month period, which is a third-degree felony.
Thomas’ May 2021 protection order requires that he communicate with the woman only through a co-parenting phone application. The woman told police Thomas refuses to download the application and shows up unannounced at places she visits, according to a police affidavit.
She said Thomas recently started sending threatening text messages.
Thomas reportedly texted on April 18 claiming he had two handguns, in which he said, “Wait hand in hand, that’s why I’m going to kick your ass.”
He is also said to have threatened to poison the children. Police say he later texted: “I hope you get in the car with him and the kids and pull off the road.”
In May 2020, police arrested Thomas’s wife after she was accused of pointing a loaded pistol at his head after she broke into a holiday home and found him with another woman. In November, she filed for divorce.
The seven-time Pro Bowl safety hasn’t played since 2020, when the Baltimore Ravens released him after hitting a teammate during a preseason practice session. He played for West Orange-Stark High School and graduated in 2007. He also played for the University of Texas from 2008 to 2010. On April 22, 2022, he told an ESPN reporter he hoped to return to the NFL.
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https://www.king5.com/article/news/nfl-earl-thomas-home-orange-catches-fire/502-1b8f8323-40bf-47f0-9384-3053be071431 Former Seahawk Earl Thomas’ home in Texas catches fire