Fire burns camper, vehicles

Kathryn Cargo By Kathryn Cargo

Jan. 9, 2018 at 9:36 p.m.
Updated Jan. 10, 2018 at 6 a.m.

A Victoria Fire Department firefighter pets a dog as a woman is loaded into an ambulance in the 3300 block of North Vine Street. A travel trailer was destroyed by fire in the home's backyard.

A Victoria Fire Department firefighter pets a dog as a woman is loaded into an ambulance in the 3300 block of North Vine Street. A travel trailer was destroyed by fire in the home's backyard.   Angela Piazza/apiazza@vicad.com for The Victoria Advocate

A fire burned a camper to the ground, destroyed two vehicles and lawn mowers at 3311 N. Vine St. on Tuesday.

The Victoria Fire Department responded to the fire about noon, said battalion chief Clifton Bayer, of the Victoria Fire Department. Firefighters had the blaze contained after about 15 minutes.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Victoria Fire Marshal's Office, he said.

Franz Rindler, 49; his mother-in-law, Cathy Hamil; his 21-year-old daughter, and Rindler's two partners live in the tan brick house on the property.

"I heard someone scream fire," Rindler said. "My door is maybe 100 feet to where the camper was. When I come flying out, I see a fire coming out behind that camper trailer."

The family helped Hamil, who is a double amputee, get out of the house. Hamil owns the property, according to the Victoria County Appraisal District.

"When we realized we couldn't put it out, we got the heck out of the backyard," Rindler said. "I turned around and screamed at everyone to get mom out of the house."

Two cousins were also visiting the family and staying in the camper. One woman is from Refugio and the other is from College Station. One was in the camper when the fire started, and was able to get out safely. No injuries were reported.

The American Red Cross is providing the two cousins with financial assistance and finding them a hotel to stay in, said Debbie Ellsworth, the disaster program manager of the Coastal Bend Texas Unit Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Rindler's daughter, who is mentally disabled, had three seizures in reaction to the fire, he said. She was taken to DeTar Hospital Navarro.

One of the burned vehicles was Rindler's, and the other was his neighbor's. The family now has to replace his vehicle because they used it to transport Rindler's daughter to and from doctor appointments and the hospital.

"We even put out a GoFundMe page for the Tahoe to come up with a down payment for a new one," Rindler said. "This vehicle is very important."


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