Firefighters battle brush fire, discover plane crash

STARFlight drops water on a grass fire believed to have been started by a plane crash (Amanda Brandeis / KXAN)
STARFlight drops water on a grass fire believed to have been started by a plane crash (Amanda Brandeis / KXAN)

NW TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – A 24-year-old man was found dead following a single engine plane crash west of Lago Vista.

Firefighters received reports of smoke near the 9600 block of Singleton Bend Road at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Crews located a fire and requested aerial assistance. STARFlight responded to the scene, and the crew on-board discovered there was a plane in the middle of the fire, according to Assistant Chief Dan McCalister with Travis County ESD 1.

The pilot was identified as John Henry Sasser from Cedar Park.

The fire burned five to six acres before it was contained Saturday afternoon. It did not threaten any structures. Fire officials say hot spots, brush piles and large trees could burn for several days. Medics transported two firefighters to the hospital with heat related injuries, according to Austin – Travis County EMS officials.

“Very warm, steep terrain. Luckily we’re able to drive around 90 percent of the fire line,” said McCalister, “but the temperatures are taking a toll on firefighters.”

Firefighters stayed throughout the night to keep an eye on the fire, utilizing water, foam and hand tools. McCalister anticipates the region seeing more fires for weeks to come, until mother nature provides some relief.

Officials have not confirmed whether or not the plane crash caused the brush fire.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has secured the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have been notified of the crash. The NTSB will lead the investigation. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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