Donations Come In For Fire Victims - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas


Donations Come In For Fire Victims

by Donna McCollum

Our Top Story is about a tremendous loss for a Lufkin family, but one that clearly shows the giving spirit of East Texans.

The house fire at Warren Street began shortly after nine Thursday night. It leaves a family of ten homeless. The two story brick house quickly went up in flames.

Luckily everyone in the Daniel Orta family escaped injury, but everything they own is destroyed. The fire began on the second floor between the walls. Firefighters told Orta that it could be electrical in nature, but it's too soon to say exactly how it began. The family was purchasing the home by holding down several jobs.

News of the fire and the family's loss traveled fast through Lufkin. Before noon on Christmas Eve Day the Salvation Army and the Orta's employers had collected numerous donations.

A Salvation Army truck loaded with Christmas donations is the closest thing to Santa's sleigh's for the Orta family. Captain Lola Maldonado said, "They gave toys, bikes, food. It's just been an outpour within the community."

Collections are for 8 children ranging in ages from two to 19 years of age and their parents. More donations are still coming in.

The mother, Carmen Orta is expecting to deliver a child in less than a week. She's comforted by her co workers at the Lunch Box.

There for a hot meal is Carmen's husband, Daniel. This Christmas he relies on his faith. Through an interpreter Daniel Orta described his feelings. "He said that he's blessed and he said that god did this for a reason and he knows god knows what's going to happen tomorrow or the following day or later on in the future, but he doesn't know why it happened, but he's blessed with everyone's help."

In daylight the Orta's loss is vividly clear as they look over the charred remains of their biggest possession. Fortunately home insurance provides some possibility of rebuilding.

However, the night of loss will never be forgotten. One teenage son recalled returning to his home in flames. "I was late, but when I saw everything I was scared."

Temporarily, the family will live with Daniel's sister Sara Ortega. There's not much room, but she says that's what family is for, to be close.

Other encouragement comes from those who help. Captain Maldonado said, "Pretty soon they'll be back on their feet and know that people here in Angelina care and that they have big hearts."

The Orta's clearly already know this. They thank everyone as they begin to celebrate a Christmas of giving.

If you would like to help the Orta family with donations you may drop them off at the Salvation Army.

Children needing clothes are: newborn, 24 month old girl, 3 year old girl, 12 year old girl, 14 year old boy, 15 year old boy, 16 year old boy, 19 year old boy.

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