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Yoakum blaze 'was just chaos'

Aug. 6, 2011 at 3:06 a.m.

Brandy DeBord, 26, and her boyfriend, Brian Heil, 45, stand on their deck that was burned in the fire that occurred Friday  at their home in Yoakum. The fire destroyed most of their possessions.

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YOAKUM - The smell of smoke and the distant beeping of a fire alarm haunts what should have been happy beginnings for Brandy DeBord and her family.

DeBord, 26, of Yoakum, had just moved into the home in the 200 block of Price Street with her two children and her boyfriend and his 16-year-old daughter about three days before the fire ignited.

"Most of our stuff was still in boxes," said DeBord's boyfriend, Brian Heil.

The family stood in the patio, where they would have held a housewarming party on Saturday, looking at the uninhabitable home.

The fire occurred about 10 a.m. Friday, just when DeBord had come home from dropping off Heil's daughter, Stephanie, at band practice and having breakfast with her niece and nephew.

"It was just chaos," DeBord said, looking into the window that was her short-lived bedroom.

A firefighter at the Yoakum Fire Department said the fire remains under investigation, but did not want to be identified.

The family said a state fire marshal will investigate the fire next week.

Not everything had been moved into the home, but the kids' school supplies and clothes were lost as well as most everything else inside the home.

DeBord was happy to get away with most of the photos of her family and a box that had her kids' baby books. Those memories hadn't been lost.

"It was our first house together," DeBord said.

The family is glad no one was in the house when the fire began, a blessing they attribute to a last-minute schedule change.

Heil was at work, his daughter was at Cuero High School in marching band practice, DeBord's two kids were at daycare, and DeBord was taking her niece and nephew out for breakfast.

The room where DeBord and her two children slept was where the fire started.

"It's unbelievable," DeBord said, shaking her head.

For the Heils, it's been a difficult couple of months.

Stephanie's mother died several months ago and she is dealing with the loss. In the fire, her laptop and all her clothes were burned.

"I'm surrounding myself with good people," said Stephanie, who plays the saxophone. "Band helps."

The family is living with DeBord's mother until they can get back on their feet. Both DeBord and Heil work at Yoakum Nursing and Rehabilitation and have received support from their co-workers.

Still, to have this roadblock so soon when starting a life together is difficult to deal with, Heil said.

"On Thursday I had cooked our first meal," he said. "It was starting to feel like a home."

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