FORT WORTH -- The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is taking administrative action against a Fort Worth liquor store for selling alcohol to a minor who died along with five other people in a fire at a Granbury mobile home, officials said.
Officials have said alcohol likely contributed to the victims' inability to escape the fire, which erupted the morning of March 6 after an all-night party at the home of a teenager whose father was out of town.
Capt. Charlie Cloud, a commission regional commander, said the Hood County fire marshal contacted his office after information surfaced that an underage partygoer may have bought alcohol at USA Liquor, 9116 Camp Bowie West, on March 5.
"It is our understanding that he bought three bottles of vodka," Cloud said. He did not name the youth.
Never miss a local story.
One week after the fire, Cloud said, USA Liquor sold to a minor sent there in a sting.
Based on that, Cloud said, the commission will proceed with administrative action, which could lead to a fine and suspension or cancellation of the store's license.
Also, the employee who sold to the minor could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.
'One of those screw-up things'
In a telephone interview Wednesday, the owner, who declined to give his name, acknowledged his mistake during the sting. State business records list the owner as James Buckley of Grand Prairie.
"I was so tired and exhausted and I wasn't even paying attention," the owner said. "I check IDs, and if they're too young, they aren't getting anything. I work six days a week and I was tired. ... It was one of those screw-up things."
However, the owner said he does not intentionally sell alcohol to minors and doesn't know how authorities can prove or disprove whether a minor who died in the Granbury fire bought alcohol at his business. He pointed out that a 30-year-old, who could buy alcohol legally, also died in the fire.
"I don't know if they have proof or whatever," he said. "I don't have any cameras. ... I just want to get this thing over with and move on. I'm just trying to make a business. If I lose this, I'll be out in the streets like everybody else."
Wreck and fire
Officials have said that a large group of friends from Fort Worth was partying at 18-year-old Calvin Reineck's home in the 4500 block of Wildwood Circle, six miles southeast of downtown Granbury and 38 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Early in the morning, nine people fell asleep, and Reineck's sister, Celeste, drove several others back to their homes in Fort Worth.
Returning to Granbury, Celeste Reineck struck a tree about 5:45 a.m. and was taken by helicopter ambulance to a Fort Worth hospital.
About 30 minutes later, the fire broke out. Three people escaped, but the others died.
They were Calvin Reineck, Alexis Schooley, 17, Vivian Rodriguez, 18, Nick Evans, 19, Savannah Marrero, 16, and Tim Moran, 30. All grew up in the Fort Worth area.
Fire Marshal Brian Fine said Wednesday that the cause of the fire is still under investigation and that he expects to have lab results in the next few weeks.
Melody McDonald, 817-390-7386