Mother loses almost everything in fire (video)
Feb. 28, 2013 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 28, 2013 at 9:01 p.m.
Kassie Haynes, 31, and her four children had been out running errands when they returned to a home billowing fire and smoke.
Haynes said she had recently acquired the home through her deceased aunt's estate and was excited about having a bigger space for her children.
Her husband passed away three years ago.
The home, on the 3300 block of East Rio Grande Street, caught flame at about 5:30 p.m., said the homeowner.
Neighbors called 911 when they noticed smoke rising from the vacant home.
Three units from the Victoria Fire Department and a medical vehicle responded to the call.
"I don't have much stock in material things," Haynes said. "I'm just glad my kids are okay."
The mother said she was working to get the house insured but had planned some home repairs before completing the process.
Now everything the fire touched is gone.
Patrick Rodriguez, 44, Haynes' ex-husband and father to their eldest daughter, said he came as soon as he got his ex-wife's call.
"My mind is thinking about what these kids and their mother are going to do," Rodriguez said. "This whole situation is cold."
Tyqira Rodriguez, 11; NiJahrell Prater, 7; Kahliel Prater, 5; and Jahleenah Prater, 2, sat in their mother's champagne-colored van while firefighters worked to extinguish the flames.
NiJahrell popped his head out of the van's sun roof intermittently to survey the scene.
Victoria Fire Chief Taner Drake said he estimated a 50 percent loss from the wood frame home's fire damage.
Haynes said she had left the dryer running and suspected the fire started from the back of the house.
Firefighters contained flames within 12 to 15 minutes, said Drake.
The American Red Cross was contacted to make temporary living arrangements for the family.
Strangers approached the quiet mother staring at her burning home with clothing and jackets for her kids.
Her legs shook beneath her hoodie and bright orange Texas Longhorns cap.
"It's good to know that there are people out there willing to help you out," Haynes said. "I'm always telling my kids to be thankful for what they have."