GRIMES COUNTY- A Grimes County family is counting their blessings after escaping a house fire Monday morning in Bedias. That fire burned their home to the ground.
"It's just shock," said Mildred Pottinger. Her family's home is gone.
"You cant really describe it," Pottinger said. "It's just everything that you had is gone that fast."
She said her dad and brother were watching TV in the living room when they smelled smoke coming from outside. That's when they ran out of the house before it completely engulfed in flames.
The Bedias, Iola and Shiro Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the scene around the 11:30 Monday morning. By then, it was too late.
"Old homes like this, especially manufactured home don't have much fire retardant in them so, once they get started its just all fuel," said the Shiro Volunteer Fire Chief Dan Sharon.
He said strong winds and below freezing temperatures made it difficult to quickly put the flames out.
"When it's cold, whatever is underneath it is hard to get to; papers, clothing, stuff like that so, it is really hard to extinguish it with just plain water," Sharon said.
After using more than 15,000 gallons of water the fire began to smolder. Pottinger said they only thing they can do not is pick up the pieces of their lives, and she's grateful her family safely made it out alive.
"I'm beyond thankful," she said. "The stuff we can always buy, but you know, we can't replace a person."
Although the house may be gone, she said she'll cherish the memories made at the house she grew up in.
"They are still there," she said. "We will just have to make new memories but it doesn't tarnish them."
The family thinks the fire may have started from a water heater, but unfortunately, a family cat died in the fire.
A fund has been set up for the family at the Bedias Bank.