Cuero family loses home in fire (video)
How to help
If you would like to assist the family, they are looking for a mobile home to park on their land. Call Alejandra Zaiontz at 361-243-0028 to donate.
A Polaroid camera dangling around his neck, young John Saenz ran toward his family as they watched firefighters tame the flames destroying their home.
He was returning from a shaded area, where firefighters took breaks to drink cold bottles of water.
"Our home is gone," the 7-year-old cried loudly as his bare legs sprinted and dust began to billow around his small body. "We have nowhere to live."
About 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, the Cuero Fire Department dispatched crews to the two-story wooden home on Jack Ranch Road off U.S. Highway 87 North, near the DeWitt County line.
"It was completely engulfed by the time we arrived," Second Assistant Fire Chief Charles Klaevemann said.
Because of the 100-degree heat index, Klaevemann said Yoakum, Nursery and Victoria fire departments assisted in fighting the blaze, which took about an hour and a half to extinguish.
Marie Saenz, 61, the homeowner, said she and her family were downstairs watching television when they heard two loud bangs.
"They were loud, like gunshots," she said. "My son went upstairs to check it out, and when he reached for the door handle, it was already hot."
Her son, Raul, was hit with a cloud of smoke that almost sent him trampling down the stairwell.
"We just ran outside," Saenz said, sitting in a red walker next to her husband.
The family moved into the home in 1990, when it was just a one-story home, and spent many years making it their dream home.
"We lost everything," she said, sobbing, her hands covering her mouth. "It's all gone now."
Saenz said she and her family are trying not to think about their loss but instead be grateful that no one was injured.
"I thank the good Lord it happened in the day," she said. "It could have been at night time. We could have all burned."
The Crossroads Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the family with shelter for three nights and some basic food and clothing needs, said Linda May of the Red Cross.
Officials said the fire will not be investigated because the home is uninsured.