I swear, this family has had a hard 2009 already. Chris and Cheril are the parents of Bryan.

Ron and I were awoken yesteday morning at 4:30 a.m. with a very distraunt and disoriented call. Cheril was at work as she works as a reporter for her local newspaper and was filing a late story before printing.

Chris woke up to heavy, heavy smoke. It's a wonder he did because he's a very heavy sleeper, hard to wake up. He jumped up, only in jockies, started opening the windows and screamed to wake up his two boys to get out. He raced behind to make sure they were out...realized he was basically naked, turned to go back in, and a flash fire erupted, consuming the whole trailer home. He shouldn't have opened the windows...fed the fire. He couldn't find their two tiny dogs. They are gone. The link here shows the Palestine Herald story and a short video of what's left...not much at all, totally, totally gone, melted or burned. The volunteer FD got lost...took 30 mins. to get there. A neighbor gave Chris a blanket and some slippers. No insurance, not even renters insurance. They have only what they had on. Chris couldn't get to his billfold, glasses, keys, front teeth plate, nothing. The video shows the total destruction with the surrounding trees burned, too.

Chris only had a few burns to his back as he was at the front door fixing to go back in when it flashed. Bryan was closest to the start of the fire and has a good bit of smoke enhalation. They hospitalized him because discovered the fluid around his heart seems to be building again....I just got word he can be released, but goes to Dallas next Tuesday as planned. They sent the x-rays to doc in Dallas. Told to be on R&R.

The Red Cross helped by putting them up for 3 days in a hotel suite. Ron and I just went thru the house gathering up things a family needs. Dishes, silverware, some kitchen items, bed linens, hair dryer, things that most people donating wouldn't think about, a couple of lamps, old stereo, mundane things that makes life nice, and that I thought...I don't use that. I can send it. Ron drove it up to them yesterday afternoon. He's up there helping to get them relocated. This family has no insurance, no money at all. Not even to put down a deposit. If you want to help, Palestine Herald has set up an account for them at Regions Bank, Chris Vernon Special Account, 2925 S. Loop 256, Palestine, Tx 75801.

The story link is slow to come up, but you can click on this link and see the story and view the after effects from the video.

My kids are sending things that kids can use and other helpful items to Cheril's Mom, who lives closeby at Trina Sweet, 650 Charlya Drive, Bullard, Tx 75757.

I am feeling overwhelmed today with all the help, monetary and otherwise, we are giving them. There is just no way we can afford to replace it all, and what we're doing seems so little.

If we learn anything, please, never open those windows. Just get out. They had 5 mins. from start to end to be safe. God was watching out for them yesterday!

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Comment by Patricia Harris Vernon on February 1, 2009 at 6:50
I just realized one of the addresses I posted in this article is incorrect: Proofing pays, right?
It's: Trina Sweet, 560 Charlya Dr. (yes correct spelling), Bullard, Tx 75757

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