The cause of the fire that sent smoke billowing into the sky Thursday evening remains under investigation. Flames devoured one home, severely damaged another, and threatened several more in a Southeast Lubbock neighborhood.
"It just happened so fast," said Josephina Cassity as she tearfully watched firefighters try to save her home. "Thank the lord someone came and knocked on my door."
Cassity thanks a stranger, who warned her that her back yard was on fire. "I'm thinking the fire is back there how many minutes do I have?" She rushed her kids outside.
In no time, the small fire that started in her back yard near 77th and Avenue F was out of control.
"The initial call came as a grass fire. It had progressed into both yards. Crews immediately called for back- up and it was a multi-structure response," Deputy Fire Marshal Robert Loveless said on the scene.
Firefighters could see the thick black smoke as they arrived. It poured from the roof and orange flames shot up into the sky. "We are so dry right now and the fuels spread rapidly," said Loveless. Loveless said the fire started in Cassity's back yard.
The fire spread to Cassity's next door neighbor's home which caused extensive damage. It also caught a nearby power line on fire. Utility crews temporarily cut power to the line.
"I can't tell you how grateful I am that we have a fire department because I do not know what I would have done," said Cassity.
Dozens of firefighters fought both the fire and the heat. "In the 105 degree weather and in that bunker gear it is important that we rehabilitate our crews," said Loveless.
Firefighters spent almost five hours on the scene. As soon as the fire was out, investigators were able to inspect the scene. While they have not released a cause, they say it is an example of just how quickly one spark can get out of control in such dry conditions.
Two families have lost memories, but they all managed to make it out safely.
"I'm just so glad everybody is okay. It's just sad. There was nothing I could do it just happened so quickly," said Cassity.
The Red Cross says eight people were impacted by this fire. They are in touch with both families.
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