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Mother who lost her home to fire calls for donations

By BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
March 1, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Updated Feb. 28, 2013 at 9:01 p.m.


IF YOU GIVE

• WHAT: Kassie Haynes and her four children have lost their home to a fire. Sunday, she will be at the burnt home collecting physical donations

• WHEN: 10 a.m. Sunday

WHERE: 3305 E. Rio Grande St.

• NOTES: Monetary donations to help the family rebuild their home can be sent to the Wells Fargo account titled, "On Behalf of Kassie Haynes and Family."

Forget the clothes, the toys and material items Kassie Haynes, 31, lost in a Thursday house fire; she just wants a roof back over her head.

The mother of four returned home Thursday afternoon to find her house on fire.

Luckily, the mother said, all of her children were with her when the fire started.

Victoria firefighters are investigating the cause of the fire, said Fire Chief Taner Drake, who estimated a 50 percent loss of the home to fire damage.

Now, the Cuero native said it's time to rebuild and move forward.

Haynes opened an account at Wells Fargo on Friday under the name, "On Behalf of Kassie Hanyes and Family," for anyone interested in donating the funds the single mother and her four children need to rebuild their home.

Thursday night, the family spoke to the American Red Cross Crossroads Chapter representatives and made arrangements to spend the night at a women's shelter in Victoria.

Red Cross spokeswoman Linda May said they provided the family with a debit card for purchasing personal hygiene items.

"I've been getting calls to my office asking where to send donation items, but we don't have enough storage space to take them," May said. "We can only take monetary donations."

This weekend, the family will be with Haynes' grandmother who lives in Cuero, her hometown.

The mother said her four children - Tyqira Rodriguez, 11; Jahleenah Prater, 2; NiJahrell Prater, 7; and Kahliel Prater, 5 - are still adjusting to living in a home already occupied by six other people and miss their home.

"My babies want to go home," Haynes said. "They're used to having their own space."

Nonetheless, the mother said she is grateful for her family's welcome and generosity.

The home was originally appraised at $60,000, said Haynes.

"I need to get this house back together so we can keep on with our good start," Haynes said. "Clothes, shoes, none of that matters. I need to get the frame of my house put back together. I can wash the same pair of pants every day if I need to. It's the roof that's over your head that matters most."

Haynes said she'd try to find another place to live next week but worries about the difficult housing market in Victoria.

"I don't have any renter's history," Haynes said. "I'll probably just start looking for a house or somebody willing to us give a chance."

Weather permitting, she plans to spend Sunday outside her burnt home waiting for anyone wanting to drop by with donations.

"I just paid all my bills and so that was all the money we had," Haynes said. "I just paid our last bill of the month, and I'm broke now. I do need the money to rebuild."

Haynes said she has dedicated most of her life to helping her large, extended family and is happy that her grandmother in Cuero reached out to help her after the fire.

"At the end of the day, there ain't nothing else," Haynes said. "Family is all that really matters. I've always taught my kids to be thankful for what they have. I gotta put this in God's hands because I can't carry this one on my own."

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