Still reeling after all its members contracted COVID-19 a few months ago, a family of five is facing more hardship following a Thanksgiving Day fire that torched their Seguin home.
The home where Kelsie Garcia and her family lived caught fire Thursday afternoon and sustained major damage. The family lost most everything in the blaze, she said.
“Very few items we were able to salvage,” Garcia said. “The little bit of things we were able to pull out, we can’t keep. They’re destroyed to try to even keep them.”
The fire started about 4 p.m. Thursday at the home in the 700 block of Boenig Street, Seguin Fire Marshal Greg Dreiss said. No one was injured, including none of the family’s three pets.
When firefighters arrived, they saw family members using garden hoses to extinguish the flames, Dreiss said. Firefighters sprayed no water but removed smoldering items from a bedroom where the fire burned, he said.
Flames burned a dresser and significant smoke damage spread throughout the home, the fire marshal said. The family’s home was uninsured and Red Cross was called to assist them, Dreiss said.
A security system linked to her cell phone alerted the family to the fire while they were out visiting her mother’s home for Thanksgiving, Garcia said.
She and her children — daughters Lana, 13, and Lyla, 8, and 6-year-old son Luis III — were playing on a trampoline in the yard when she received the distress notification, Kelsie said.
Members of the family rushed to the home and saw smoke venting from the top of the house and flames from a window, she said. Her husband Luis Lopez Jr. and her sisters rushed into the building to search for a pet.
Her daughter’s Chihuahua Dumplin’ was inside, Kelsie said. The family couldn’t find Dumplin’, who turned up after firefighters arrived, she said.
“Thank you to the fire department for their help, for everything they did and saving my daughter’s dog,” Kelsie said. “That was an important thing to me because my daughter’s an animal lover. Telling her we couldn’t find her dog would’ve killed me more than people think.”
The fire and firefighting efforts damaged clothes, furniture and all items inside the house, she said.
The family has hit some rough patches in recent months. Back in July, all five members contracted the, as did Luis’s father, who died from the disease, Kelsie said.
Meanwhile, the family was isolated for several weeks. She and her husband were unable to work and found it difficult to get back on their feet after recovering from the disease, Kelsie said. And now with the holidays rapidly approaching, Kelsie said Christmas 2020 is all but shot.
“This is probably going to be the hardest thing that I’ve had to do forever, I think in my whole life,” she said. “I don’t know how I’m going to manage to make a Christmas for them knowing there’s nothing even to go home to.”
The family is bunking with a relative for a while. The quintet lost so much in the fire, they need help recovering, Kelsie said.
Having lived in Seguin her whole life, she hopes her community can rally around her family in its time of need.
“Any way anybody can help, at this point, whatever I can get, I’m willing to take,” Kelsie said. “Clothes, furniture, necessities, you name it, I need it.”
Her sister Marissa Garcia set up a GoFundMe account in hopes of garnering help for the family of five.
A seemingly insurmountable cascade of setbacks appear to keep befalling her loved ones, Marissa said on the page.
“It just seems like they haven’t been able to catch a break and I’m hoping to help with that some through this page … especially with the holidays right around the corner,” she wrote. “Several minutes before finding the house on fire, my niece had said she was thankful for ‘having shelter and family.’ Imagine how hard it was going back to tell the kids the shelter they were thankful for had been burned.”
To help the family, visit www.gofundme.com/f/27hiyl9v2o .
On Friday, Kelsie thanked everyone who donated and those who might. She and her family will need all the help they can get putting the pieces back together, Kelsie said.
She intends to try to keep a stiff upper lip for the sake of her children. So far it’s been tough.
“I think I cried all day, cried all night. I’ve been crying off and on here and there,” Kelsie said Friday. “I have three kids so I can’t really make it seem like something’s going wrong.
“I have to make it seem like mom’s really fine, though mom’s really not.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.