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Unattended candle blamed for house fire, family of 7 displaced

By BY JESSICA PRIEST - JPRIEST@VICAD.COM
Feb. 3, 2013 at 8:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 2, 2013 at 8:03 p.m.


How to help

Those interested in donating household goods and children's clothing can do so by emailing neighbor Amanda Martinez at manda_0410@yahoo.com. The children's clothing sizes are boys' size 3T and 4T, girls' shirts size medium and girls' pants size 5T and 6T.

As the sun fell on the 1200 block of Alcoa Street on Sunday at least 10 cars slowed to take in what remained of a blue, one-story home that has stood there for at least the past decade.

A white refrigerator and washer appeared to be the only belongings left unscathed in fire that ripped through the home at 10:02 a.m. Sunday, displacing a family of seven.

No one was injured, but at least one person, whose name was not released, was treated for breathing difficulties, said Capt. David Pillar with the Victoria Fire Department.

Fire Marshal Tom Legler said the fire was caused by a candle that was left unattended. That candle fell onto a nearby sofa.

Ledger said a sofa's stuffing is usually combustible.

Neighbor Becky Williams called 911 after she heard a loud boom.

"When I looked outside, I saw a little boy screaming," she said.

She yelled for the family to get out of the house as smoke billowed out of a front room.

Williams didn't know the family well but said they must've lived there for at least the last 11 years.

"I don't need any recognition for helping," she said.

Fearing the wind might shift, Williams went on to notify her neighbor, Irene Ramos, 69, and Ramos' disabled veteran husband of the danger.

Ramos recalled shaking her husband awake and rolling him in his wheelchair to safety as what sounded like rocks exploded behind her.

"My husband told me it was probably the windows blowing out," she said.

Ramos said she comforted the children who wept as their home went up in flames.

"I said, 'Don't cry. That's just a house. It's lucky you're alive,'" Ramos said, adding she's depressed that they're suffering.

Ramos described the man who owns the house as a good neighbor and hard worker in the construction business.

Pillar said the family, who declined to comment, owns a second home that's undergoing renovations. He said they may stay in it.

Linda May, emergency services director of the American Red Cross Crossroads Chapter, said the Red Cross will provide the family vouchers for food, clothing and a room in a nearby hotel for the next three days if they want it.

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