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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – Two homes in Childress were destroyed by housefires on Tuesday, June 9.
“Both of them were a total loss,” said Childress Fire Department Fire Chief Daniel Tyler. “It’s rare to have two fires at the same time.”
The first fire started at 3:59 a.m. out in the county at Stacy Longley’s house. It had been burning for a while before someone called 911, Tyler explained.
“Thankfully, nobody was at home at the time of fire,” he added. “It was already fully involving and collapsing when we got there.”
Tyler said it took 14 firefighters to put out the fire. The last truck left at 11 a.m. It is still under investigation, as they don’t know what started the fire.
The second fire started at 6:07 a.m. The house at 1502 G NW belonged to Juan Lepe.
“We had to leave a few trucks and a few men at that fire and go the next fire that was in town,” Tyler said. “When we got on scene it was completely involved in the attic.”
Tyler said this fire was reported as smoke in the attic. They are thinking the cause is electrical.
“The popping of the fire woke him up,” Tyler explained. “The house was full of smoke.”
When Juan Lepe’s daughter Delia arrived, it was a sad sight. Her dad was in shock trying to process everything.
“It’s just hard,” said Delia Lepe, as she fought back tears. “When I pulled up my dad is standing in the yard. I am having to watch my dad watch his house and his hard work go in flames. It was devastating. There was nothing I could do for him.”
Firefighters left the scene at 12:18 p.m. Tyler added they were fortunate no one was injured.
A donation account has been set up for Juan Lepe at Wellington State Bank. Account Representative Marie Noyes said donations can be made in the lobby, the drive through and the night depository.
“The tragic loss the Lepe family has experienced is horrific,” Noyes said. “Any donation will be greatly appreciated. The Childress community is best known for its willingness to rally behind an individual in need, and we are honored to house the donation account for the Lepe family.”
Longley’s daughter Sara said they are at a standstill for the time being. But her mom said she is so thankful for the outpouring of prayer and love during this time and that she is just so grateful for all the help being offered. They feel blessed to be a part of this community and its outreach.