LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A fire took the life of a retired special education teacher in Lorenzo Friday morning. Crews said by the time they got to the fire at 110 N. Van Buren at about 10:30 Friday morning the home was already engulfed in smoke and flames.
Francis Dominguez received a call about a fire on her street. "I ran over here thinking it was my home, but it wasn't my house. It was my neighbor's house," she said. 61-year-old Rita Crelia lived at the home that caught fire and was not able to get out as the fire destroyed her home.
"There were just flames coming up from behind her house especially. They were pretty high up over the house," said Dominguez.
The Fire Marshal's Office says they believe a cigarette caused the fire. "Probably the result of a discarded cigarette, maybe a dropped cigarette or something," said Kelly Vandygriff.
The family told fire officials Crelia smoked heavily and used an oxygen tank because of medical problems. The fire started in the back of the house which quickly filled with smoke.
"There wasn't a lot of smoke getting out so the house is basically super charging with smoke. Then, when they had forced entry in the structure and introduced the oxygen it just kind of fanned the fuel and made the fire burn pretty good, and it spread throughout the house," said Vandygriff.
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When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.