Just after 11pm Tuesday night, everything changed for the Martinez family when a Coleman lantern fell in their kitchen, broke, and started a massive inferno. Juan Martinez says, "I was going to sleep and I could hear something pop like an explosion and I turned around to the kitchen and I saw a big light and my daughter was cooking in there."
Juan's wife, Anita says, "Just seeing that fire going over my daughter's head like that, that's when I started yelling and that's when he (Juan) got up quick and pulled me and the baby out."
The fire engulfed the Martinez family home within seconds. The family had no phone, so a neighbor called 9-1-1 and Juan sought help two blocks away, at fire station number one. Firefighter Chad Ford, says, "Usually you don't come down to get in the trucks, open the doors and see someone in a car honking the horn at you."
"By the time I came back, the fire was coming out the windows and the doors. It just happened so fast." Anita says, "We didn't have any electricity because last week he (Juan) put that money on his father's funeral and everything. So, we were just trying to make it," Juan said.
Juan and Anita's daughter, Diana, was cooking by the light of the Coleman lantern when it fell and started the fire. Her 4-month-old baby Nicholas was not far away. All of his pampers, formula, and clothes are lost. Diana says, "Memories... you still have them, but I just really wanted his (Nicholas') things...not mine." Anita says, "I can't believe this. It's like a nightmare."
The Martinez family now has nothing but each other.. and for that at least, they're grateful. Juan says, "Houses, well houses you can get another one and start all over again." Diana says, "I'm just hoping people can help us out and that something good will come to us."
The Martinez family was renting the house they lived in and had no insurance. If you'd like to help them get back on their feet, please call the Red Cross. Their number is (806) 765-8534. They are accepting monetary donations. If you'd like to give clothing, furniture or items for the baby, you can also call the Red Cross and they'll put you in touch with the family themselves.