Wharton family loses everything in house fire

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

Jan. 3, 2011 at 6:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 2, 2011 at 7:03 p.m.

With her 1-year-old brother on her hip, and 12-year-old sister following her out the door, Jennifer Vargas, 14, frantically exited her home Monday afternoon.

"We were in the living room and I had just woken up. I went to the laundry room and smelled a strong smell, like gas," Jennifer, of rural Wharton County, said. "Before I could do anything, the whole house was on fire."

After noticing the fire start in the back of the home near the laundry room, Jennifer said she grabbed her infant brother and ran out of the house, owned by their parents, Ernesto and Maria Vargas.

"We lost everything," Jennifer said, remembering her brother Emmanuel crying on her hip, as they watched their home burn.

Jennifer said she and her siblings were alone in the three-bedroom house when it caught fire Monday around 2:15 p.m.. The house is at 152 S. County Road 102, near the Magnet community.

"I called my dad, but he didn't answer. Then I called 911," she said.

Boling Fire Department responded to the emergency call, as did Wharton County Fire and Wharton EMS.

Jennifer said she was eventually able to contact her parents and inform them about the fire.

The Vargas family will be staying with an area relative temporarily, until they can find another home.

An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the fire.

The family is working with the Crossroads Chapter of the American Red Cross for assistance. Clothing and other donations are being accepted.



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