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Family seeks help after trailer home fire

By JR Ortega
March 7, 2011 at 11 p.m.
Updated March 6, 2011 at 9:07 p.m.

Vera Martinez speaks about her father's condition and what her family has gone through since the fire.

HOW TO HELP

To help the Martinez family, call the Crossroads Chapter of the American Red Cross at 361-573-2671.

Vera Martinez sat up straight, her composure firm, but the horrors of the past week and uncertainty of the future very much on her mind.

Martinez's father, Andy Martinez, 66, received third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body Wednesday after his motor home caught fire on Coleto Drive.

Her father successfully completed his first skin-graft surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio on Friday.

His daughter somberly hesitates before talking about his condition.

"He's holding on," she said. "They took the bandages off this morning from the first surgery and they said everything looked pretty good."

Her father had been burning trash on the side of the house throughout the day and when he finished, he headed inside.

Embers from the flame spread to nearby objects and then probably underneath the mobile home, Fire Marshal Ron Pray said.

Now, Martinez in the hospital awaiting at least six more surgeries, his daughter said. Doctors have said he may be in there until May.

"It's bad," she said, fighting back tears. "His burns are real severe. It's hard. It's hard to look at him. It's hard to accept. But I have to and keep moving from there."

The most severe of the burns are on his upper body, she said.

Just as he recuperates, there will be another surgery and then it will be another step back, she said.

"The doctors made us fully aware of the fact that with every surgery there's a chance that he may not survive," she said.

Her mother and sister are at a temporary residence in San Antonio. They need food, clothes and toiletries.

Both her father and mother only receive disability checks, which is not much. Coming back from the hospital will also be a hurdle, his daughter said.

"It's a total loss. They lost everything," she said. "Everything."

Linda May has been the emergency services director for the Crossroads Chapter of the Red Cross for six years.

She goes home everyday with some of the haunting stories she deals with first hand.

"It makes me very grateful for what I have," May said. "I go home and cry. I cry. I cry a lot of times."

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