Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

May 21, 2014

Family of 12 unhurt, but loses everything in blaze

Southside residence a total loss, officials say


Mineral Wells Index

— By TODD GLASSCOCK

Flames licked the afternoon sky and tufts of black smoke curled up from a house’s roof in the 100 block of S.W. 16th Street as a fire left a Mineral Wells family without a home Wednesday.

“I was at work when I got called,” said homeowner Alex Ramirez. “When I turned that corner [of Oak and 16th] it was already smoking.”

He and his wife, two daughters and eight grandchildren live in the home, but only his wife and four grandchildren were home when the fire started. All five got out of the home safe and uninjured.

The home was not insured, he said. He and his family had lived there 24 years.

“It’s got to work out some way,” he said of recovering from the fire.

The Red Cross had been called to assist the family in the aftermath of the blaze, he said.

Robert Murphy Sr., the other grandfather of the children in the Ramirez home, said the grandchildren will stay with him and his wife at their home for the night in Mineral Wells.

Emergency medical personnel were checking out one of his grandsons in an ambulance at the scene. Murphy said the boy was having some trouble breathing when he was being checked out, but was otherwise OK.

About a dozen firefighters from both the Mineral Wells Fire Department and Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department responded to the blaze, said Fire Chief Mike Pool.

The fire was fully involved when the first engine arrived on the scene around 2 p.m., he said. Two engines total responded and it took firefighters about an hour to contain the fire.

Debbie Youngblood, who called the fire in, said she was driving to the Bargain Barn down the street from the house when she saw smoke coming from it.

When she came on the scene, she said a woman was trying to put the fire out with a garden hose after family members had evacuated the house. She got out of her car and helped the woman and children get away from the house.

Vance Leggett, a friend of Ramirez’s, smelled and saw smoke from his home about a block away.

“I smelled the smoke and thought it was the Dog House [a bar across the street from the house],” he said. “Then I saw it was my buddy’s. He’s a good man.”

He said Ramirez had worked on his brother’s plumbing during the coldest part of the winter.

At the scene it appeared that smoke was billowing from all sides of the home but the front roof seemed to be where flames were biting the heaviest.

Pool said witnesses told him the fire had started in a middle bedroom. “It’s going to be a total loss.”

He said the cause was not known, although witnesses told him it was possible children had been playing with a lighter.

“We’re not sure at this time.”