Family home damaged, dogs die in Cuero fire
By Advocate staff
March 26, 2011 at 6:05 p.m.
Updated March 25, 2011 at 10:26 p.m.
How to help
Assistance to the Kortz family can be made through the Victoria chapter of the American Red Cross. 361-573-2671.
CUERO - A house on the outskirts of Cuero went up in flames on Saturday afternoon.
The entire Kortz family was attending a family reunion when they learned the family home, located on the 700 block of South River Road, was burning.
When the Cuero Fire Department was called to the house at 1:15 p.m., fire department chief Butch Tolbert said he could already see a plume of black smoke from his own home.
The north and west sides of the two-story building were already in flames by the time firefighters arrived on the scene, Tolbert said.
They first worked to put out the flames in those sections of the house and to stop the fire from spreading.
Firefighters were still working to put out the fire as of Saturday evening.
"It was pretty major," Tolbert said.
On the scene were more than 10 firefighters, four trucks from Cuero, one from Yoakum and one from Mission Valley, Tolbert said.
No one was home when the fire started, and it is still unclear what started it, Tolbert said. While no one was injured in the blaze, two dogs are believed to have been lost, family member Rodney Kortz said.
Kortz said the land the house stands on has been in his family for generations.
He and his father and brother built the house from scratch in the 1970s.
"Yeah, I helped build a lot of this with my own hands," Kortz said, gazing down the dirt road at the firefighters struggling to get the blaze under control. The second story is still standing, but the north and west sides of the building were burned to the ground.
Kortz said they planned to build another house on the property for his mother, Imogene Kortz, to live in.
"It's been my mom's homestead for generations. We're going to have to rebuild. It was here that her grandparents and her great grandparents lived, and we won't be moving off. We've got a lot of family history here," Kortz said.