A Robstown family whose home was destroyed by fire last week has seen hope in an outpouring of support from the community.
Pete and Sandy Gallegos, both lifelong residents of Robstown, lived at the home on County Road 67 just east of town with their three children- Brandon, Joshua and Sarah.
Brandon, 19, was asleep in his room around 5:30 a.m. July 30, when he awoke to find the wall next to his bed completely engulfed in flames. He ran to the kitchen in an effort to find something to stop the fire, but the flames had spread too far to be stopped.
"I woke up and the wall was on fire," Brandon said. "I went back in and I couldn't see anything."
Brandon's shouts woke up Sandy, who quickly got the family out of the home. When Sarah, 8, told her one of the family's dogs, Charlie, was still in the house, Sandy briefly ran back into the building to rescue the black poodle. She was able to find the dog in Sarah's room, and she and Charlie got out of the home safely.
Sandy phoned 9-1-1, and a short time later the Robstown Fire Department arrived and began bringing the fire under control.
Watching fire fighters work to stop the blaze, Sandy then phoned Pete, who was working at a site in Shreveport, La. Pete described the drive home as "the longest 9 hours" of his life.
Brandon was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated for smoke inhalation and released. No one else was injured in the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it is believed to have started in an electrical outlet.
The family moved into the home, located just down the street from Pete's parents, 15 years ago. "We started from the ground up," Sandy said of their early days in the home Monday. "It was a fixer-upper."
While the outside is still standing, the inside of the home has been completed gutted by the fire. And the water used to put out the blaze has damaged almost everything not destroyed by the fire.
Sandy said the family is still working its way through the rubble, but so far they have found little to salvage. School supplies for Sarah and Joshua, 14, bought just two weeks before the fire are gone. Brandon's laptop and his clothes- which were all packed and ready for his return to Texas A&M- College Station, where he is studying business- are gone.
In the days immediately after the fire, Sandy said the family received a great deal of support from the community. The local chapter of the American Red Cross provided some food and clothing, and friends and relatives have brought similar items. Pete's employer, Fesco Ltd., has also provided assistance.
The Gallegos family is currently staying with Pete's parents, within walking distance of their former home.
With memories of the fire still fresh in their minds, the family is currently working on plans to rebuild the home.
Relatives of the Gallegos family have organized a barbecue benefit fundraiser, which will be held Aug. 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at La Charita. The building is located at 101 E. Avenue A in Robstown. Plates of barbecue half chicken with all the trimmings will be available for a $6 donation. For more information about the benefit, call Lucy Gallegos at (361) 548-0870.
"We would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive," Sandy said. "We're a small community, but there have been so many people who have reached out to us. It's nice to see people come together."