Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Benavides-The Saenz family is thankful no one was in their two-story home Friday that was engulfed with flames and left the second level of the home completely ravished.

"All of the upstairs, the kitchen, living room and den was damaged," said homeowner Zaida Saenz who stood outside of her home. "Everybody was gone, that was the best thing."

Saenz said her three boys and husband, Armando Saenz, and herself were not in the house when the fire started about 12:30 p.m. Friday on the 4000 block of Highway 359, on the outskirts of Benavides. She was the first who drove up to her house when she noticed the smoke.

Saenz said the $250,000 house and many of her family's belongings was lost including two bedrooms, two bathrooms, three closets, a den and furniture and numerous items inside those rooms.

A total of six fire units responded to the house fire from Benavides, Freer, San Diego and Hebbronville, fire officials said.

"To determine the cause of the fire is almost impossible until the fire marshal comes in and assesses it," Assistant Fire Chief Juan Garcia with the Benavides Volunteer Fire Department said. "It's been determined that the fire started upstairs, but how it started, that's not determined."

Saenz and family members were salvaging any items they could from the home, but most of the items were lost to the fire.

What seemed to be a burnt piece of furniture sat in the front of the 10-year-old home with burned out windows, a sunken roof with black soot around the second level area.

Saenz said she has no idea what started the fire.

"We are cleaning and trying to protect what we do have," she said. "We will be boarding up the house and staying with family."