Weatherford Democrat

Big Story AM

July 13, 2011

Twice unlucky

After April disaster, family loses home, pets

WEATHERFORD — Tuesday afternoon was the second time in four months the Martin family drove up to find their house burned.

James Martin and his wife, Jessica, reportedly lost everything on their ranch near Possum Kingdom Lake in during the April wildland fires.

Then Tuesday afternoon, shortly before 3 p.m., they arrived at their main residence in the 200 block of Valle Vista Road in Annetta South to find firefighters battling a fire that destroyed their brick, single-story home.

Their two long-time pet dogs, a 15-year-old Schnauzer and a red Heeler, were found dead just inside the front door of their home, the family said.

Their daughter, Jordyn, shrieked and knelt in the field when she drove up and her mother told her the news.

Firefighters from Aledo, Willow Park, Hudson Oaks, Cresson and Weatherford responded in the 103-degree heat to put out the structure fire.

LifeCare and the Red Cross were also on scene to assist firefighters struggling with the heat.

Neighbor Sam Schooler said he was leaving his house when he smelled smoke and then drove by, saw the flames near the garage area and called 911.

He and other neighbors tried to fight the fire with a garden hose until firefighters arrived, Schooler said.

The wind picked up and the fire spread across the roof, the neighbor said.

Several neighbors also provided a bathroom and moral support as the women cried and stood watching firefighters spray water into the steaming, blackened home.

The family speculated it may have started near an electrical outlet in the garage, but didn’t have an explanation about an hour into the fire.

“I’m so anal about stuff like leaving a dryer on,” James Martin said, noting he makes sure the family turns off appliances.  

Martin and his wife, who were on vacation for the week and preparing for their son’s wedding this weekend, had taken their boat into the shop when their tire blew and returned to the house for the spare.

That’s when they saw their house in flames.

Martin said he’d just gotten a four-wheeler that burned in the April fire replaced by their insurance and parked it in the garage, near where the fire is believed to have started.

“They’re going to laugh at me,” Martin told his brother when he offered to call the insurance company for him.

Firefighters from across the county also responded to a two-story structure fire on Alta Mesa Drive off of White Settlement Road in northeast Parker County Tuesday evening around 5:30 p.m.

Firefighters were reportedly fighting a defensive fire.

No further details were available early Tuesday evening.

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