Fires destroy two homes days before Christmas

Dec. 20, 2012 at 6:20 a.m.
Updated Dec. 21, 2012 at 6:21 a.m.

This home in the 900 block of South Depot was burned in a fire Thursday morning in Victoria.

This home in the 900 block of South Depot was burned in a fire Thursday morning in Victoria.   Kathleen Duncan for The Victoria Advocate

Two Crossroads families are homeless five days before Christmas after fires ripped through their houses Thursday.

No one was injured at either fire.

Grace Rogers, of Port Lavaca, had planned to relax Thursday, spending time with a friend, a volunteer firefighter, in Indianola.

The scanner was on in the house all day, but she wasn't really paying attention to the chatter until she heard a familiar address at 4:30 p.m.

"I moved closer to the scanner and they repeated it, 'We have a house fully engulfed with flames at Westwood and Lazy Lane.' And that was my house. There is no other house at Westwood and Lazy Lane. And my poor heart dropped," Rogers said.

When she pulled up to her home a few minutes later, she said the firefighters were still battling the flames that burned down her home.

The other four people living in the house - her two adult sons and her two adult brothers - were not home when the fire started, Rogers said.

"I thank God for letting it happen during the day while we were all gone and not at night when we were sleep," Rogers said.

The house in the 500 block of Lazy Lane was a total loss, said Capt. Boyd Staloch, of the Port Lavaca Fire Department. The fire appeared to have started in a travel trailer next to the home and spread to her home, her shed and damaged a neighbor's shed.

Staloch said it took an hour to get the fire under control.

Rogers can't believe she lost everything, from old pictures to new presents waiting to be unwrapped under the Christmas tree.

Linda May, emergency services director at the American Red Cross, Crossroads Chapter, said the agency is providing the family with two nights in a hotel and emergency funds.

Rogers does not know where they will go when they leave the hotel.

"I'm going to have to see where I can go. I'm going to have to find somewhere to stay," she said.

In Victoria, another home burned down in the 900 block of South Depot Street, said Victoria Fire Department Battalion Chief Roger Hempel.

Royal Mumphord, of Victoria, was in the house when the fire started, but a neighbor woke him up and got him out, Hempel said.

Hempel said the fire was reported about 9:30 a.m. and they had the fire under control about 9:45.

Hempel said family members were at the scene with Mumphord.

The ownership of the house could not be confirmed.

May said the Red Cross is providing Mumphord with food and clothing vouchers.

Both fires remained under investigation Thursday.



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