Residents of ETX home destroyed in fire: 'It practically exploded in our face'
WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) -
An outpouring of support has already started for a family whose house burned down early Sunday morning in Smith County.
Around 1 A.M., a fire started in a utility closet at a home on the 200 block of Senter Ave. in Whitehouse.
The house was a total loss, but residents Bob and Leanne Volkert said neighbors immediately started pitching in however they could.
The Volkerts spent Sunday salvaging what memories they could, after the fire engulfed the home they had been renting for three years. Leanne Volkert said she is just lucky she was still awake, watching TV, when she heard something that did not sound right.
"I heard some popping from the laundry room and I went in and looked and the breaker box was smoking," Volkert said. "I ran in and got my husband and by the time we got back in there it had practically exploded into our face. We were trying to get out of there and the next thing I know it's pitch black and I'm running to get my daughters out of bed. We got out and watched it burn."
Leanne's husband Bob was digging on Sunday afternoon, hoping to find one of the couple's most precious memories—his wife's wedding ring.
"I really didn't expect to find much," Bob Volkert said. "It's pretty much all gone. At this point I'm not really sure what we're going to do. We just have to take it one day at a time.
His favorite pictures of his kids were some of the memories spared in the fire.
"I have a 15 year old, Jessica, and ever since she was a baby she would always smile," Volkert said looking at one of the pictures. "I could only find one picture of my son and another of my dad and my other daughter. She was just a baby when my dad was holding her. Those put a little smile on your face and we cherish those."
The couple said they did not have renter's insurance, but said they are just grateful for friends and neighbors who gave up their day to lend a helping hand.
Neighbors have already set up drop-off locations for donation items at local churches in Whitehouse: United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church and the Church of Christ.