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14 people escape early morning fire

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
Feb. 13, 2012 at 3:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 13, 2012 at 8:14 p.m.

Four adults and 10 children escaped the fire that destroyed most of a mobile home early Monday at Holiday Acres Mobile Home Estates. The cause of the fire, which started in the kitchen, is still under investigation by the Victoria Fire Department.

"I just wanted the kids out. I didn't care about grabbing anything else. I was just worried about the kids."

Michelle Baladez recalled Monday morning's fire in her Leary Lane mobile home in which 14 people, including 10 children, escaped without injury.

"We were just worried about the kids," said Isabel Baladez Jr., 43, Michelle's husband.

"I was rushing to grab the babies to get them out," Michelle, 33, said. "We were scared."

The Baladez's six children range in age from 1 to 15. Klaressa Cervantes, 28, also lived in the mobile home with her four children who range in age from 8 months to 7 years and Joaquin Quintero, 27.

Quintero was the first to wake up and alert the other residents to the fire.

The Victoria Fire Department responded to the fire call about 5:33 a.m. at 2701 Leary Lane, No. 63 and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the front of the home, said Battalion Chief Roger Hempel.

"The fire was mostly contained to the kitchen area, but the rest of the home suffered smoke and heat damage," Hempel said.

Firefighters were on scene until about 8 a.m.

Fleeing the flames through the back door of the mobile home, the escape was made more chaotic by a rainstorm.

"We're missing one! We're missing one!" Isabel Baladez yelled, after trying to account for all the children.

Michelle calmed him when she said one of the children was with Cervantes and Quintero in their car.

The American Red Cross Crossroads Chapter is assisting the families, who lost all their clothing and other household items, with temporary lodging and food and referred them to other local agencies who can assist them.

The families had only been in their mobile home, donated to them by Faith Family Church, about three months after losing another mobile home in a fire.

Monday's fire continues to be under investigation, according to the Victoria Fire Marshal's Office.



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