Community gathers to help victims of Brooks County fire
Six homes were destroyed but no injuries were reported following a fire spanning nearly 300 acres in Brooks County.
On county road 301 in Falfurrias on Saturday, the damage was evident from the massive blaze.
"I feel sad because those are my neighbor’s houses that burned,” said neighbor Baltazar Martinez. “I'm lucky that my home didn't burn, but now when I sit here outside, I won't see any of my neighbors anymore."
Martinez says he was sitting at home when he first heard about the fire.
"I have a granddaughter who lives nearby and she came and said, ‘Let's go. You're not staying here. The flames are coming your way,’" Martinez said.
Martinez's home didn't suffer any damage, but the fire — referred to as the Miller Fire by the Texas A&M Forest Service — destroyed six other homes in the neighborhood.
Just across the street from Baltazar's home, another family wasn't quite as lucky. They lost five of their vehicles, their home, and all the memories that came with it. The family was too emotional to speak to Channel 5 News on Saturday.
Officials believe the 271-acre fire started as a result of a human smuggling attempt where a vehicle crashed into a tree on Thursday, sparking a fire that reignited Friday afternoon. No injures were reported, but on Saturday, firefighters were still working to put out any hot spots.
Brooks County Judge Eric Ramos says six families are without a home, including about 10 children.
"We're taking clothes, household goods,” Ramos said. “We're going to be taking some monetary donations, but that will be done during office hours in my office so we can keep good track of that."
Ramos and Martinez hope the community will continue to rally behind the families that lost everything so unexpectedly.
If you'd like to help, call 361-389-1851, or you can drop off donations at the Brooks County Judge's Office, located at 100 E. Miller St. in Falfurrias, or the public library, located at 203 S Calixto Mora Ave. in Falfurrias, starting on Monday.
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