Fire victim says thank you to firefighters

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - To see someone watch their home go up in flames is a sad event. It doesn't improve much the following day when the reality of it all sinks in. Most of the home in the Loco Valley community was lost to fire, but no one was hurt. The cause is uncertain, but firefighters believe it started in the garage. Several volunteer fire departments, the Nacogdoches Fire Department and sheriff's deputies responded.

The loss was significant, but for Angela Wiederhold it provides an opportunity to look on the positive side. "It just doesn't seem so devastating because you have so many people around you that love you and care about you," Angela said the morning after losing her home to fire.

Friends have started food lists. Neighbors washed smoky clothes. A new neighbor provided boxes from her recent move to store items salvaged from the fire. Two vacant homes and a garage apartment were offered as a temporary place to stay. All the kind of things East Texans customarily do when they learn of a friend down on their luck.

Angela sends her appreciation, but right now she can't send enough praise to firefighters.   "One pumper truck would come and they would do everything it could and another one would come pull up and they would change that hose," Angela described.  "And then one guy would come out and someone would help him get his gear off and another guy would go in with his oxygen on." They were just doing their job, but for a fire victim the efforts are taken in very personal ways.

Firefighters say a firewall built by the previous homeowner protected bedrooms and offices where precious belongings were stored. Angela attributes the protection to the departments working as one. "It was just seamless. They just all worked together," she expressed.

Friends are offering the Wiederhold's monetary donations. Angela says insurance will take care of her family's needs, but she does offer a suggestion. "I'd love it if people want to donate money to their local volunteer fire department and the firefighter's association."

And such a gesture would be another positive moment.

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