Alice couple loses home in fire, local electric cooperative offers support

Alice Echo News Journal
Alice couple loses home in fire, local electric cooperative offers support

ROBSTOWN  – After an Alice couple lost their home in a fire three weeks ago, Nueces Electric Cooperative (NEC) employees responded quickly by gathering funds, donations, and offering support to the cooperative members.

Janet Simms and Jose Rivadeneyra’s home caught fire on Tuesday, November 17, around 3:45 a.m. Simms, alone when the fire began, quickly alerted the local authorities.

“I woke up to something burning.” Explains Simms, “I noticed smoke coming from the kitchen and realized my home caught fire. I couldn’t believe how quickly the fire spread. Before I knew it, my home was engulfed in flames.”

Simms escaped with no injuries and first responders arrived shortly after to extinguish the blaze. An investigation into what caused the fire revealed that the fire was caused by an extension cord plugged into a power strip for a heating lamp.

“They lost everything,” says NEC’s Work Order/Material Accountant Mary Pavelka “As soon as we received reports of what happened, I knew we had to help. I reached out to all NEC employees and asked for anything that will help our members get back on their feet. Shirts, jeans, boots, and even an electric skillet were just some of the items NEC employees donated.”

Simms said the couple is currently staying with their daughter and plan on building a new home as soon as possible.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone at NEC who donated to me and my husband. The support and love shown to us by you and the community have helped us immensely during this difficult time. I also want to encourage everyone to have a smoke detector in every room of their home, including your outdoor porch.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the couple as they work to rebuild their home and all that they lost in this tragic fire’', says NEC CEO Varzavand “Avan” Irani. “Electrical safety at home is crucial, and I would like to take this time to encourage all of our members and the public to practice home electrical safety and stay vigilant during this holiday season.”