HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - It's been a rough four days for John Heath who lost his girlfriend in an early morning fire in Huntington this past Monday.
Heath spent Thursday morning going through the charred rubble after police finally allowed him to go inside the home he shared with 49 year-old Linda Salas. Heath had left the home for several hours Sunday night, and when he returned in the early morning hours on Monday, he returned to a home fully engulfed in flames.
"I thought at the time that the house was burning, and she had left to get out," Heath said. "That's what I had thought. Later the police came to me and told me she had died in the fire. It was pretty bad. The top of the house was ablaze. The whole thing was demolished and fire department personnel was here."
Heath and Salas had lived in the modest home on East Spruce Street for the last year. Heath had met Salas in Houston years ago and the two were trying to start a new life together.
"I went to school in Hudson," Heath said. "I went to work in Houston, and I met her down there. She was from the Northside. We fell in love years ago and the relationship ended years ago. We got back together. I moved her up here and tried to make a go at life and do things right."
Investigators from the State Fire Marshall Office investigated the scene on Monday and Tuesday. According to authorities, no foul play is expected and the investigation is still ongoing. Heath said it was communicated to him that the fire likely started in the back utility area due to faulty wiring.
Heath said the small community as well as his job as been supportive of him as he deals with the loss. Heath is grateful for every outpouring he has received.
They've been very supportive and the people that I have talked to," Heath said. "It is such a tragedy and a loss. They feel for me and her as well."
A memorial fund to help pay for the expenses of a funeral for Salas has been set up with Huntington State Bank. Anyone wishing to give is just asked to tell an employee they wish to make a donation to the John Heath Fund that will go to expenses for Salas.