NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Coming home to ashes creates a sinking feeling for fire victims. George Barham was only five years old when it happened to his family.
"As a child, I remember being a victim of arson and it's something that's stuck with me," said the Nacogdoches businessman.
Now the memory is leading to something good. Soon the successful contractor and developer will give away a shady lot on Hasley Street so a fire rescue house can be built.
"The house will be available for fire victims who are displaced for 2-3 weeks," explained Barham. "(It would) allow them to just have a place to call home until they can decide where they're headed next."
In 2008, there were 63 structure fires, 53 residential in Nacogdoches county.
"Unfortunately, fires are going to happen and people are not going to have a place to live temporarily," said Terry Westmoreland, with the Nacogdoches Fire Department. "George is doing a wonderful thing and we support him 100%."
The home will be offered to fire victims in four counties. "Our goal and dream is other communities will pick up the idea and run with it and have other homes in other communities," said Barham.
Barham is now on the speakers circuit gaining sponsors for the home. In kind contributions from suppliers, contractors and skilled labor are well underway. Cash is also needed.
"We're marking donations by $50 a foot, so if somebody wants to purchase 1 square foot and have some ownership to this particular house they can do so," explained Barham.
The web site, www.firerescuehouse.org is promoting the drive as the first fire rescue home in Texas. Donations can simply be made by going to the web site. Brochures are also available at the NFD administration offices in downtown Nacogdoches.
Construction is planned for May. The goal is to have the home completed by September 11, the 10th anniversary of 9-11. The home honors the nation's firefighters.