Hardships keep coming for East Texas woman - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Hardships keep coming for East Texas woman

By Jena Johnson - bio | email |

FLINT, TX (KLTV)- An elderly East Texas woman is staying with family after the home she helped build burned. The fire happened Friday night around 8:30 on Shadow Wood Drive in Flint.

"It's just really hard to see this to know how much work I've put into this," said Martha Owens as surveyed her home's damage.

68-year-old Owens has been a skilled carpenter for decades. "I've built all my cabinets. I built all my kitchen. I built my floors," she said. "I just love to be around wood and work with it."

Owens only source of heat was a wood burning stove. Somehow Friday night while Owens played dominos at her kitchen table, the stove sparked a fire that swept through her ceiling, destroying her home.

"We got glasses of water and buckets of water and water hoses and tried to get up in there and spray it and get it out and we couldn't," said Owens.

A water soaked collapsed ceiling covered the things she had loved and worked so hard for.

"It's pretty bad," she said.

Saturday morning family helped her move some of her work tools that were salvaged, but nearly all of her work was ruined.

"I was just trying to get by," said Owens. "So, I couldn't afford to get insurance."

This is Owens' second hardship in just one month. Two days before Christmas, Owens had a terrible accident.

"We had to be through that night and we were in such a hurry," she said. "Both of us were out cutting the wood and putting it down and I went out and cut a piece long ways and it threw my hand over to the saw blade and cut off three of my fingers."

Under doctor's order, she wears several mittens to keep her injured hand warm.

"We were able to save two of them so far and my thumb, it cut my thumb and I have pins at the end of my fingers and I won't be able to work for eight months to a year because it's got to heal," said Owens.

She says as painful as it was to lose her fingers, watching her house she so skillfully crafted go up in flames was just as difficult.

"It's devastating to see your house on fire," she said.

Now she waits to recover in hopes she can rebuild everything she lost.

Owens says she will never use a wood burning stove again. She lost nearly everything in the fire and said donations would be much appreciated. You can donate at the Red Cross in Tyler.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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