Bay City family lost homes, musical memorabilia to flames

By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Sept. 6, 2011 at 4:06 a.m.

Dottie Jack-Howell, of Bay City, was relieved when her family began arriving from Bastrop.

Jack-Howell's family was forced to flee the wildfires that have devastated Central Texas over the holiday weekend.

Jack-Howell's parents, Fred and Peggy Jack, her sister Joanie Jack and her niece Ashley Jack all lived in the same neighborhood and were evacuated as the flames headed toward them.

Jack-Howell's sister confirmed the homes were destroyed by the fires on Tuesday, she said.

They only had about 20 minutes warning before they had to evacuate, Jack-Howell said. Her father Fred Jack told her he never dreamed that he was seeing his home for the last time when he evacuated on Sunday.

The family has lost a lifetime of memorabilia from their musical careers. They all grabbed their instruments, but the recordings and pictures from years of playing traditional country music are gone.

"The memorabilia in my dad's music room can never be recovered. He's met and played with musicians such as Marty Stuart and Ernest Tubb - we'll never be able to replace those things," she said.

Jack-Howell said everyone is still trying to process what happened, that their homes burned down.

"I've just been in a kind of daze. I have to stay here in Bay City and wait for everyone, and I've just been trying to pray and hope everything turns out all right," she said.

Losing their homes is devastating, but Jack-Howell said she and her family are trying to stay positive.

At least 14 family members have been impacted by the fires. Jack-Howell's daughter was also evacuated from her home in Steiner Ranch, but the fire didn't damage their property. Her other daughter is facing the fires in Magnolia, she said.

It's daunting, she said, but she feels sure her family will be able to meet the challenges they are facing.

"This is going to be something to overcome, but we got the most important things out and that's what we need to remember," Jack-Howell said.



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