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Fire ruins family's holiday

A fire in a rural area northeast of Pilot Point on Thanksgiving Eve destroyed two homes and a neighboring cabinet shop, leaving nine people looking for places to live over the holiday.

The fire broke out at about 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Grayson County fire investigators were on the scene Saturday morning, but officials didn’t respond to a request for more information earlier this week.

There were no injuries. Five occupants lived in the home on the property where the fire started. The neighboring home had four occupants.

The fire started in a cabinet shop next to a house in the 400 block of Emerald Glenn Lane. The fire destroyed the shop and home on that property and spread to a home located next door.

Although the fire damage appeared minimal to the house next door, severe burning could be seen on the exterior of the home closest to the neighboring property. Jerry Ford said his house, where he has lived for seven years, was a total loss because of the smoke and water damage. The roof was damaged.

The house was insured, Ford said. Ford, his wife, Candy, and his cousin, Tina, and her husband, Billy, were in the house. Some contents, including some furnishings in the bedroom, located on the opposite side of the house where the fire occurred, were salvageable.

“There’s no restrictions out here so they [neighbors] can do whatever,” Ford said Friday, referring to having a house and business on the same property.

Ford said he voiced concerns to the neighbors about having their shop so close to his property line. He and his wife had been staying on his parents’ property.

“It’s more of an inconvenience than a loss,” Candy said. “I mean, everybody got out safe — that’s the biggest thing.”

“We’re blessed more than we even deserve,” Jerry said. “It’s not really for me to ask or wonder why — just go with the flow.”

“We’re definitely blessed,” Candy said.

Tina and Billy set up a tent on his driveway after the fire and needed some assistance from Red Cross. Jerry and Candy lauded the work of first responders at the scene.

“Everybody was nice and so helpful,” Candy said.

Eliseo Hernandez, the resident of the house where the fire started, stood outside his house with family members on Saturday as fire investigators examined the charred remains. All of the contents in the house were lost.

He said he did trim work in the cabinet shop part-time. The family owned another business, and those contents were burned, too.

Hernandez lived in the house with his wife and three children. Two of the children are in the intermediate school and one is in middle school in Pilot Point. The family declined to release the names of the children.

Hernandez had no idea how the fire started. He said his wife, Sonia, smelled fire first and that she alerted him to go outside and investigate.

The Hernandez family has gotten some help from Red Cross. They are staying with a relative across the street, said Hernandez’s sister-in-law, Adriana Villarreal, who said the family also would not divulge whether the house and shop were insured.

Bryan Cox, assistant chief with the Pilot Point Fire Department, said even though the fire occurred at a Pilot Point address, the property is in the Tioga Fire Department district. PPFD sent three units to the blaze. Several other fire departments were at the scene.

Firefighters saved 90 percent of the contents in the neighbor’s home, Cox said. The shop and the house on the primary property of the blaze were semi-attached.

“I was the first unit on the scene, and they were pretty much a total loss when I arrived on scene,” Cox said.

He said firefighters were able to stop the fire in the neighbors’ home.

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