Shiner fire victim: 'The flames just leaped out'
Aug. 9, 2011 at 3:09 a.m.
Hazel, a 2-year-old rat terrier, bulldog mix, jumped up against Lucille Lawrence's leg.
Again and again.
Lawrence, in the front yard with her back to her Shiner mobile home, finally turned toward the structure.
"When I turned around and looked back, the flames were coming up and the smoke was so black," she said. "I ran to go inside and get my purse and phone. When I opened the door, the flames just leaped out."
A neighbor, Eric Hartman, jumped the fence, cut the electricity off and grabbed Lucille and Hazel and took them to another neighbor's, Lawrence said.
Lawrence, 72, had just returned home from a doctor's appointment, went inside and set down her purse, then went outside to bring in her trash cans when Hazel alerted her to the fire.
"It went up so fast. It was a total loss. You wouldn't know it was a house," she said.
Nothing could be salvaged from the home, including family photographs.
"We can't replace any of that, but thank God no one was hurt," Lucille said.
The home's other residents - Lucille's husband, Lavel Lawrence, 75, and their great-nephew, Anton Dews, 30 - were not at home at the time of the 12:30 p.m. fire.
Lavel recently underwent surgery for stomach cancer.
The family is staying with Dews' mother, Pamela Brown, who lives nearby.
"I am hoping we can get another mobile home," Lucille said.
They had lived in the 1500 block of 15th Street for 29 years in the trailer that had belonged to Lucille's late mother.
"It was old when we got it," she said. "They said the fire started in a plug; it was electrical."
Mark Panus, Shiner Volunteer Fire Department chief, said the mobile home was fully involved when units arrived and firefighters were on scene about two hours.
The cause is officially listed as undetermined and is under investigation, but "we are leaning toward electrical," said Panus.
The American Red Cross Crossroads Chapter is assisting the family with food and clothing.
"I am grateful to the Red Cross," Lucille said. "I thank them from the bottom of my heart."