Old Lady's Thanksgiving Fire in Cuero, TX

On Friday, Nov. 27th at 11pm, the lights went out. I went to see if a breaker had tripped. When I opened the door, the room was filled with smoke. I was in the dark & ran to get my flashlight. When I returned there were orange flames. I dialed 911 & the Cuero Fire Dept. got here within minutes. The cause of the fire was a short in a wall outlet that NOTHING was plugged into.

Thankfully, there was no loss of life or injuries to myself or my 3 much loved dogs. Damages were contained to the master bedroom. I lost about 12 feet of exterior wall, interior wall, insulation, carpet, flooring, floor joists, some ceiling, a window, the breaker box, my bed melted on one corner and antique blanket chest. Everything in the room is saturated in smoke and water damaged by the fire department. All of my clothes, shoes and coats. the furniture is covered in a smudgy black film. The walls are amber now, when once they were white with little flowers. Without power, everything in my fridge and upright freezer were lost. I can't do laundry because I have no power.

Me and the little dogs are living in the kitchen - living room combo. I have a futon to sleep on.  An electrician came out & made sure that it was safe at the pole meter to turn on my yard outlet. So I am running an extension cord through the doggie door. This enables me to have a heater, a light and my laptop. The Texas nights are at or near freezing for the next week. I am pretending that I am camping out. But it will be this way for a long time. But I get to stay in my home for now. And this old broad likes that part.

This move two years ago was meant to be my last move... ever! I live on a meager Social Security Benefit that is far below the poverty level. And I have been in declining health for the past year. At 64, I can not do the repairs that are needed. I can't buy the materials. I can't pay the folks to do the work.

I want everyone to know that I feel blessed. Blessed to have been home. Blessed to discover it so quickly. Blessed to have a marvelous fire department. Blessed to have the Red Cross come out at 2am to bring me a blanket and a debit card. I truly believe that God was watching out for me and my fur babies. It could have gone catastrophically the wrong way. So, yes... in the face of a disaster, I am blessed. Now on to getting my home up to a livable standard again. God is good.

*** URGENT NEEDS: Money for clothes, shoes, coat.
Materials to temporarily close up this gapping hole in my house.
Bed and debris removal.
Money for a large ice chest for food storage.
I have SNAP, so my food cost is covered.

*** FINAL NEEDS: Cost of repairs plus new floor covering.
New Breaker Box and some re-wiring along the burned area.
Smoke remediation on walls and furniture.
New Bed and bedding.
Kilz and paint.
Tons of things I can't even grasp right now.

Thank you for reading this far down. Thanksgiving weekend did not go as planned.


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Debbie Wotipka 
Cuero, TX
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