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Parents, young children left without clothes, food, supplies
Collections have begun at the Dilley Police Department and City Hall for a local family who lost all possessions in a house fire last week.
Clothing and essentials are currently being dropped off at both locations to benefit the Espinoza family, whose home in the 200 block of Obregon Street was destroyed early Friday, March 18. Parents and four children ranging in age from 5 to 14 have been left with only the clothes they wore when fleeing the burning home, according to firefighters.
Emergency services were dispatched to the residence shortly after 8 a.m. Friday and arrived to find that the wood-frame structure had filled with smoke and was fast becoming engulfed in flames.
Dilley volunteer firefighters used two trucks in battling the blaze but were unable to save the building, according to VFD Chief Tommy Cook.
Both the volunteer fire department and the city police department are hailing swift action by a municipal works crew in helping slow the blaze and preventing it from reaching nearby homes.
According to VFD Chief Cook and Dilley Police Chief Homer Delgado, workers with a water pump truck had been busy at a jobsite immediately adjoining the Espinoza home early Friday and spotted the fire. They garden hoses and their pump truck to douse some of the flames, thereby giving the family time to flee, the police chief said.
“Public works acted spectacularly,” Delgado added. “I cannot praise them enough.
“We are also hearing reports that a man came in to help by assisting the family in getting out of the house,” the police chief said. “This has been unconfirmed, but it appears a local citizen took action to save lives.”
Chief Cook said preliminary reports indicated one of the family’s young children may have also noticed the fire and roused the remaining family members, all of them eventually escaping the fire without serious injury. Several required treatment for smoke inhalation.
“The child felt heat coming through the wall,” Chief Cook said. “That was quick thinking, and the youngster also helped save lives that morning.”
Firefighters reported that it appeared the fire may have been ignited outside the home, possibly from a faulty electrical connection to a heat lamp over a dog kennel, although an official determination regarding the cause has yet to be made.
Cook said on Friday that the fire marshal has not been called and that there has been no indication of arson having played a part in the blaze.
Firefighters remained on scene until shortly before 11 a.m., searching the structure wreckage for any remaining hotspots, Cook said.
“There have been heroes all around,” Police Chief Delgado said. “People have been donating items each day, and we have been really struck by the kindheartedness of the community.”
The Espinoza parents are age 38; children include three boys aged 5, 7 and 14, and a girl aged 9. Donations of clothing also include shoes, size 11.5 for the father, 7 for the mother; boys’ sizes 2, 3 and 6; and girl’s size 6.5.
The police department is asking that anyone looking to contribute funds do so only by gift card, as the office cannot accept cash donations.