Lufkin family who lost house to fire coping with the loss of dog, possessions

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - In the wake of the fire that left them homeless Monday morning, a Lufkin family is coping with the loss of their beloved miniature Schnauzer and most of their possessions. Kim Starks and her three children, ages 17, 14, and one and a half, are staying with a relative.

"She's making it," said Starks' daughter, 17-year-old daughter, Brianna.

Although Starks said she is doing much better than she was Monday, the reality is starting to set in. Starks and her family salvaged some sentimental items like pictures from their fire-ravaged home in the 800 block of Cottonbelt Street. They also found some intact family heirloom dishes.

However, they lost just about everything else - furniture, clothes, etc. - in the fire, along with their dog, Marley.

Starks said she didn't have any insurance on the home, which has been in her family for several generations. She said she'll probably have the house torn down and that she hopes to rebuild one day.

The family is getting a great deal of support from the American Red Cross, Starks' church - Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Goodwill, neighbors, and strangers. Starks said she has been overcome with joy because of all the help they're receiving from the community. She added she can't thank them enough for their kindness.

Steve McCool, the City of Lufkin's fire marshal, said the cause of the fire has been ruled undetermined. He said fire investigators weren't able to find the fire's point of origin. They were only able to determine the general area where the fire started, the home's porch.

The only ignition sources in that area were electrical, McCool said. However, since they can't determine the point of origin, they can't rule on a cause.

Starks was at work, and her three kids were at school when the fire broke out just after 11 a.m. Monday. She broke down in tears when she arrived on the scene and saw that the home she grew up in was fully engulfed in flames.

"My dog was in there," Starks said at the scene of the fire. "Marley was in there."

Assistant fire marshal, Captain Ozzie Jarman said the Lufkin Fire Department responded to the 800 block of Cottonbelt Street to find a fully involved structure fire.

"When we arrived on scene the whole front of the house was fully involved. The back half of the house wasn't on fire yet," Jarman said. "The front porch was fully involved and the front window. The fire was coming out of the front window. We made a defensive attack."

American Red Cross volunteers happened to be in the area around the time the fire started and followed to smoke to the house fire.

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