Tuesday, September 16, 2014




Fire leaves Victoria family homeless (w/ video)

By Bianca Montes
Nov. 23, 2013 at 5:23 a.m.
Updated Nov. 24, 2013 at 5:24 a.m.


How to Help

Rita Martinez said she would like help rebuilding the wardrobes of her 12-year-old niece and 13-year-old nephew. Her niece wears a size 11/12 in girls, and her nephew wears a size 12 in boys. Rita can be contacted by cellphone at 361-571-9267.

Rita Martinez stood outside shivering as she stared at her blackened mobile home.

She was in shock.

What started as a quick nap on a friend's couch kept the mother of two from being home when the flames began to consume her small trailer.

"I didn't believe it," she said when she first got the call. "It was like I was in a dream."

Smoke from deep inside the mobile home park in the 100 block of Crestwood Drive on Saturday night could be seen from the streets, and the ripe burnt smell of soot and ash permeated the neighborhood. The fire began about 7:45 p.m.

Inside, the glow of the flashing lights of the fire truck cast a magenta color over the park as neighbors stood in huddles to watch.

Lt. David Ferguson with the Victoria Fire Department said no injuries were reported and that the home appears to be a complete loss.

The fire department was able to control the fire in about 15 minutes and remained on the property for about another hour to control hot spots, Ferguson said. The fire did not spread to any other homes.

The cause is under investigation.

"I was supposed to be in there," Martinez said. "This could have happened tomorrow - the kids could have been inside."

Martinez was staying at a friend's house the past couple of weeks because her shower was broken, she said. "We were coming back home tonight."

Martinez's daughter, Leean Cardenas, 11, said she could still feel her heart pounding. "I was so scared," she said.

Linda May, emergency services director for the Victoria Chapter of the American Red Cross, said she had not been notified of the family's need late Saturday.

Although Martinez and her children lost all of their possessions in the fire, Martinez said she was mostly worried about her niece's and nephew's clothing. Because of unforeseen family circumstances, Martinez said, the children were recently left in her care.

"All of their stuff is in there," she said, almost crying. "I'm just glad I didn't bring them back to this place."

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