Walking from room to room she pointed to what was once a storage room, a den and a dining room.
Fire ravaged the house at 310 W. Randall St. early Sunday morning — only hours before the family’s six children would need to be ready for school.
“When the firefighters came in, a majority of the clothes were melted or they were on fire,” Destiny said.
“All their school clothes were right there in that melted mess. I cannot keep any of it.
“It has water damage and smoke damage.”
She and her husband were able to scrounge enough together for their children to go to school — thanks to help from numerous businesses and people.
“A lot of the people that have come and helped, they don’t know me. They don’t owe my kids anything,” she sad. “They don’t owe me anything but yet they have come and helped.”
As she sat outside her home this week staring at the yellow police tape, she took stock of what she has left.
“I am happy my kids are OK,” she said. “What if none of us would have smelled the smoke?
“I am very grateful I have my babies and I can give them hugs and kisses.
“Yes, I am sad and overwhelmed.
“I wish I had money and didn’t have to worry about everything. But this is the real world.”
Fire’s first sight
It was her oldest son who first saw the fire that morning.
“Jason, my oldest son who is 17, he woke around 3:30 in the morning and said he smelled smoke,” she said. “He got up, walked out the door down the hallway.”
The teen went into the storage room of their home and pulled down the ladder to the attic.
“He said the ceiling was glowing,” she said.
The fire was already raging overhead.
“He tried to put it out with water but he couldn’t,” she said.
“He jumped down off the stairs, ran back all the way down to mine and my husband’s bedroom.”
“Mom, the ceiling is on fire,” he said as he shook his mother.
The family was able to get out safely.
Ultimately it would take more than hour for firefighters to extinguish the blaze.
Now, it is matter of sifting through what is left.
Her home is condemned though and money to fund the rebuild is short.
“I couldn’t afford insurance and pay taxes and take care of monthly expenses... like school clothes and school supplies.”
The work ahead
With so much damage done to the home, it will take time and money before she, her husband, Christopher Perez, and their children can move back home.
“An electrician needs to come and rewire the house,” she said. “I don’t have that kind of money.
“I will, of course, have to rebuild part of the house. I can do that.”
Not all of the rooms were gutted by the fire.
At the front of the house, the living room was only partially damaged by smoke.
Sitting in the middle of that room now is an old wooden rocking chair.
“This chair was in the den,” she said. “That was in the middle of the floor.
“That was my great-great-grandfather’s.
“I am thankful that survived. I don’t know how.
“Everything else around it was messed up.”
Sitting outside the home, Destiny looks overwhelmed at the task ahead of them.
“We are pretty much homeless,” she said. “I have totes of clothes at the motel room that have been donated or that we bought.”
Thankfully, those at the Belmont Inns and Suites have offered her a room at no charge because even that would be beyond their means.
“There is no money for me to rent a room and even if there was, all the motels are booked because of the oil field,” she said. “I just want to come back home”
Turned her head.
The tears she had fought all this time had finally broken through.
“I am a very prideful person and I hate asking for someone to help me,” she said. “I want more for my kids than I want for myself.
“I would dig ditches just to be able to do what I need to do,” she said. “Donations of lumber to help me rebuild part of my house would be most appreciated. Anything would be most appreciated.”