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Goliad family loses home to fire

By Sara Sneath
Dec. 16, 2013 at 6:16 a.m.
Updated Dec. 17, 2013 at 6:17 a.m.

Pastor Ira Antoine of Minnehulla Baptist Church looks over the damage to the Bland family's mobile home. Sunday night, Valencia Bland was staying at a family member's house with her three sons. A neighbor called her at midnight to inform Bland her home was on fire.

HOW TO HELP

Donations can be delivered to the residence of Julie Dorsett, a Bland family friend.

• WHERE: 159 Rifle Road, Goliad

• WHEN: Everyday 1-7 p.m.

What is needed

Household items

Clothing

• Older boys: Shirts, large men's; pants 32x34 men's and 34x34 men's; shoes size 13

• 5-year-old boy: Shirts and pants, 5T; pull ups are also needed

GOLIAD - Valencia Bland arrived at her Goliad home around 7 p.m. Sunday to smoke pouring from the heating unit in her laundry room.

She didn't see any flames but called the Goliad Volunteer Fire Department as a precaution.

The source of the smoke was a problem with the fan in the heating unit, said Alonzo Morales Jr., Goliad Volunteer Fire Department chief. Morales said the fire department turned off the heating unit while at the three-bedroom mobile home on Fulcrod Avenue.

Bland, 48, said the fire department told her she should call a repair company about the heating unit in the morning. But Bland was already shaken up.

She and her three sons smelled of smoke, and she didn't want to stay at the house.

"I was kind of scared," Bland said.

Bland, her boys and their dog, Zeus, went to a family member's house for the night.

But she didn't have a quiet night.

At midnight, a neighbor called to tell her that the home she had lived in for more than 10 years was on fire. Bland rushed home.

"It was just burned," she said. "You could see the flames."

Bland stood in her front yard watching as the fire department worked to put out the flames.

"We lost everything," she said.

Morales said the fire was an accident and the Goliad Fire Department does not intend to investigate it further.

Bland did have insurance on the mobile home, which she owns, she said. She and her three sons - Uyless Bland, 15; Logan Bland, 13; and Jackson Anderson, 5 - are staying with family members.

The Minnehulla Baptist Church has created an account at American Bank for monetary donations, said Ira Antoine, the pastor at the church. He said donations can be made to the Valencia Bland Benevolence Fund from both the Victoria and Goliad bank locations.

Antoine said church members went to the Bland house to offer support as soon as they heard about the fire.

"They stood with Valencia across the street until three in the morning," Antoine said. "Until she could leave."

The American Red Cross provided the family with a debit card to purchase needed items including clothing, household items and bedding.

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