Couple Coping After Losing Home In Fire - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/06/06-Longview

Couple Coping After Losing Home In Fire

Investigators have ruled a massive fire that destroyed an East Texas couple's home accidental. But they are still unable to pinpoint exactly what caused Tuesday night's blaze on Hidden Forest Road in Longview. Not only has a house of memories has been lost, but also some of their most precious artwork.

"I glanced out over in this direction and flames were shooting out of the roof of this home. I said their house is burning down, we've got to do something," says Janiece Baldwin, a neighbor.

Although it was not Janiece Baldwin's home, all she could do was watch her neighbors home go up in flames.  

"Everything is just, just you know, gone, just emptiness, you know I'm happy, I've got my wife," says homeowner Bob Benson.

Fortunately, the homeowners, Bob and Mollie Benson, were not home at the time of the fire. Mollie had just left 15 minutes before the blaze started.

"It's surreal, I mean it's like it's just somebody else's house, it can't be mine because we see that all the time, people on TV, you know, I've lost everything and you just think 'oh that's just tragic,'" says Mollie.

The homeowners say they have no idea what may have caused the fire. 

"There wasn't any Christmas lights on, we turned everything off, unplugged everything," Bob says.

But they do know what they've lost.

"I'm a wood carver, I love to carve...I've done some carving for Troy Aikman, Emmitt (Smith) and in return for their carvings, they've given me jerseys and shirts....they're gone," he says.

The Bensons say they had insurance and plan to rebuild. In the meantime, they're getting by with some help from their neighbors.

"God will take care of it, he's got a plan for us and we don't know what that is, but it'll be okay, we're okay," Mollie says.

Bob Benson is a well known wood carver in the East Texas community. He's carved rocking chairs for President Bush, Cowboys Coach Tom Landry and country singer Neal McCoy. His chairs have also been auctioned off at Cattle Barron's, Neal McCoy's Angel Network, and other charity events.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.

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