Pictured: Lupita and Benito Cruz display the two Bibles that were the only items to survive a fire that destroyed their home on County Road 149 Monday morning. Photo by CHRISTOPHER MAHER

Cruz family escapes blaze with only the pajamas they were wearing

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

A local family is searching for answers after a fire destroyed their home during the early morning hours Monday.

Lonnie Adams said he was in his residence on County Road 149 near San Diego getting ready for work shortly after 3 a.m. Monday, when he noticed an orange glow coming from his mother's trailer home next door.

Adams said he went outside and saw a large fire moving from an old trailer behind his mother's home to her trailer, and he quickly ran over to wake her, her husband and a brother who were living in the residence.

"By the time I knew it, the fire was on the back of the trailer, and there was no chance," Adams said.

As flames began shooting through the walls of the residence, Lupita and Benito Cruz, and her brother, Juan Morin, were able to escape from the smoke-filled home without injury.

The Alice Fire Department was called to the scene, but the fire completely destroyed the residence before fire fighters were able to extinguish the blaze.

Standing outside the rubble of her home Monday afternoon, Lupita Cruz said they had not had a chance to save any items from the fire. Clothes, furniture, pictures and family heirlooms were all lost in the fire.

"Everything burned down. The only thing we walked out with was our pajamas, and that's it," Cruz said.

More than their belongings, the fire also claimed the life of the family dog, a chihuahua named "Baby."

"I couldn't even go in for my pet, she died under my bed," Cruz said. "We had her for nine or ten years."

The only two items that survived the blaze, Cruz said, were two Bibles she and her husband owned. Although the covers of the Bibles are singed and show smoke damage, the pages inside are still undamaged and readable.

Cruz said she was not sure what the family will do now. They did not have any insurance, and relief agencies have been stretched thin by disasters elsewhere in the country, Cruz said.

"The Red Cross is not helping right now because of the fires in California," Cruz said. For now, she and her husband are staying with relatives.

The fire appears to have originated in a storage trailer behind the residence, although the exact cause of the fire is still unknown.