Fire destroys home near Nursery (w/video)

Kathryn Cargo By Kathryn Cargo

Dec. 28, 2017 at 9:51 p.m.

A home in the 100 block of Felder Drive burns as firefighters work to extinguish the flames. The home caught fire Thursday morning.

A home in the 100 block of Felder Drive burns as firefighters work to extinguish the flames. The home caught fire Thursday morning.   Angela Piazza for The Victoria Advocate

Twenty-three minutes after Luz Griego left for work Thursday morning, her daughter called to say Griego's home was on fire.

A dark cloud of smoke was visible from a mile away.

When Griego left for work at Greater Victoria Interventional Pain Associates about 7:30 a.m., her home was OK, she said. She's rented the house for four years with her husband.

"Everything I had was in that home. I lost everything," she said while crying. "I'm relieved that we got out and it didn't happen at night when we were asleep. We lost all our material things, which I know can be replaced."

Griego stood across the street from her four-bedroom home in the 100 block of Felder Drive with two co-workers and watched as firefighters worked to contain the bright orange flames.

"All my grandkids' stuff was in there - their presents, because they hadn't moved them to their house yet," said Griego, who has five grandchildren ranging from 1 to 9 years old. "We had just bought our grandson a bike and a phone."

As her home burned, Griego realized she also had blankets and other belongings inside that once belonged to her grandmother, whom she lost in May.

She also worried about whether her miniature dachshund and cat were able to escape. Thursday afternoon, she said her family found their pets.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at 7:53 a.m., said Capt. Emilio Reyes, with the Victoria Fire Department. When they arrived, firefighters discovered the house about three-quarters engulfed in flames.

No one was in the home when the fire started, and no injuries were reported.

"It blew out the windows on three sides," Reyes said. "It was a pretty heavy fire when we got here."

By about 8:30 a.m., firefighters stopped the flames from spreading to the back addition of the home.

Also helping extinguish the fire were the volunteer fire departments of Mission Valley, Quail Creek and Nursery.

The Victoria County Fire Marshal's Office and the Victoria Fire Marshal's Office also responded to investigate the cause. By Thursday afternoon, Victoria County Fire Marshal Richard Castillo determined the fire started in the living room area from an electrical short in a lamp or the extension cord it was plugged into.

During the holiday season, residents often use extension cords for decorations, so they need to be aware and keep track of their electrical outlets, Castillo said.

People shouldn't use extension cords as permanent wiring, he said. Often residents run extension cords under and behind furniture, which can cause a pinch in the wire, leading to damage, he said. They need to make sure the cords don't get hot and aren't pinched. Also, the thicker the extension cord, the safer, he said.

"When you do that (pinch the cord), it breaks the insulation and exposes wires," Castillo said. "You need to look at them every now and then to make sure they're OK and not frayed or damaged."

Griego's family received help from the American Red Cross-Crossroads Chapter and will stay in a hotel for now. She's not sure whether her landlord plans to fix her home.

"I'm just trying to make it through - take it day by day," she said.


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