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Family of 9 struggles to rebuild (video)

By chirst
June 13, 2013 at 1:13 a.m.
Updated June 14, 2013 at 1:14 a.m.

Barbara Chapa reacts as Avis Morton  speaks about the fire that destroyed their home in Lolita on Wednesday afternoon. Chapa is the fiancee of Hicks' brother, Harold Hicks.

She was always frustrated her little boys never wanted to take their naps.

But Wednesday, the 5- and 3-year-old brothers' refusal to close their heavy eyes saved lives.

"Sonny came in yelling, 'Mommy! Mommy! Fire!' I ran into their bedroom and tried to put it out with a pillow, but it didn't work - it just got too big. I went to the back room, got my little girl and both my boys, and that was it," described Avis Morton, saying she rushed her three children out of their burning home Wednesday afternoon.

But just getting out of the house was not where she or her neighbors stopped. Instead, they grabbed buckets and pans of water to throw on the fire in the 100 block of Elm Street in Lolita.

One neighbor even ran into the burning trailer with a fire extinguisher to try to put out the flames.

But it wasn't enough.

Within minutes, the four-bedroom home that housed four adults and five children, ages 11 months to 14 years, was declared a total loss from fire damage.

Morton's husband, Larry Hicks, was on his way to a carpentry job when he got the call that his house was on fire. He turned the car around and came straight home.

Hicks is thankful his family was unharmed, especially after looking at the charred remains of the mattress where his boys were supposed to be taking their nap.

"I was just happy they were safe, that nothing was wrong with Avis or the kids, but what are we going to do? We don't have a lot of money, and what we did have was in that trailer, so I'm just trying to think - what are we going to do?" questioned Hicks on Thursday, with one night left in a hotel provided by the American Red Cross Crossroads Chapter, no clothes for the kids and nowhere to stay Friday night.

The family did not have renter's insurance, saying no one wanted to insure a trailer home.

The only toys the kids have are smiling Mickey Mouse stuffed animals donated by the American Red Cross Crossroads Chapter.

Nearly everything else can be replaced, Hicks said, except for the collage of pictures and memento of his deceased parents that was hanging in the living room.

The cause of the fire is not currently being investigated, said Billy Mills, the EMS director for the Lolita Fire Department.

"We may not have a whole lot to start with, but we will eventually get it. We will get it done. Me and my brother, we work every single day to put food on the table, so it will work out," Hicks said.

And right now, he is starting with the clothes he had when he left for work and his family at his side.



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