Friendswood mansion once known as White House ranch destroyed in fire during severe storms
A huge fire engulfed a mansion on FM 528 in Friendswood as storms moved through the area overnight.
The home was once an event venue known as the White House Ranch. According to the Galveston County Appraisal District, the home is worth $2.6 million.
The home, which had recently been remodeled, belongs to Darryl and Linda Wischnewsky, owners of the Bayway Auto Group.
Darryl was out of town, and Linda was reportedly at home with her son watching the Astros game. They smelled smoke and got out of the home safely.
Reporters were on their way to League City to cover the heavy rain in that area when they spotted the flames.
The Friendswood Fire Department said it first received a call about heavy smoke throughout the home, which has a partial third floor.
“The guys made an aggressive attack, but they could not get ahead of fire. They went defensive and pulled out. It’s such a tough fire because we could not put our ladder trucks up because of the lightning,” said Battalion Chief Mark Faber.
It’s unclear how the fire started and if it was weather-related.
Faber said dispatch received a 911 call that said everyone inside the home evacuated. No injuries were reported.
“They are pretty distraught watching their home. It’s been in Friendswood for a long time. I’ve been born and raised here, and it’s been here a long time,” Faber told reporters.
“This is what we live for, to help our neighbors,” he added.
The fire marshal will determine the exact cause of the fire.