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House fire leaves family homeless

By by jennifer preyss
Sept. 24, 2010 at 4:24 a.m.

Members of the Teresa Guzman family talk to Victoria Fire Investigator Mark Flathouse about the damage to their home caused by an electrical fire Friday afternoon. The American Red Cross is putting the family up for three days in a hotel until they can find alternative accommodations.

How to helpTo donate money or supplies to the Crossroads Chapter of the American Red Cross, call 361-573-2671, or visit www.crossroads-redcross.org.

The American Red Cross is financing a three-day hotel stay for a family who lost their house in an electrical fire Friday afternoon.

The Teresa Guzman family rented the home that caught fire at 3407 Catalpa St. and were home when the structure ignited.

Each of the five family members and their dog were able to escape without injury.

Victoria Fire Investigator Mark Flathouse said the investigation is ongoing, but will likely determine the fire started through an electrical malfunction in the rear bedroom.

The Victoria Fire Department responded to the Guzman's emergency call at 3:14 p.m. and were able to quell the flames almost immediately.

While the fire did not spread throughout the home, smoke damage ruined much of the structure, making it unlivable for the family.

"The first arriving engine was able to extinguish the fire. Fire damage is contained to that room and there's smoke damage throughout the rest of the house," Victoria Fire Department Chief Vance Riley, said.

A family member of the homeowner, Carmen Ramon, said they will have to determine if the home has insurance before moving forward with repairs.

In the meantime, the Guzmans will occupy two rooms at an area hotel for the next three days.

Ramon is uncertain when, and if, the Guzmans can return to their home.

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