ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Firefighters in Texas were forced to watch a house burn this week as a lack of water prevented them from extinguishing the blaze.

Crews responded to the call just before 8:15 p.m. Monday and found a house in Abilene fully engulfed in flames.

The city had asked customers Monday evening to limit their water usage to only cooking and drinking as the supply dwindled amid electricity outages that have stripped more than 20,000 customers of power in the area.

Less than two hours after customers were warned about the limited water supply, there was no running water in Abilene, which hindered the firefighters’ efforts to save the house.

Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna addressed the issue at a news conference Tuesday morning.

“We had a house fire. It’s not in the nature of firefighters to watch a house burn. They had to watch that house burn,” Hanna said. “There’s not much they could do but make sure the other houses around it didn’t catch fire.”

Officials say the fire was caused by a wall heater and the house was a total loss.