DEVASTATED: Family says fire was avoidable


Ernestina Martinez stands in the ruins of what was once her proud home after it was destroyed in a fire. Martinez is holding one of her only remaining personal possessions, a page from one of her children’s yearbooks. (Staff photos by Ray Quiroga)

Port Isabel-South Padre PRESS

fire2Even before she could step out of her daughter’s car en route to where her home of over 50 years once stood, Ernestina Martinez began to tear up.

As she surveyed the ruins, she noted that there’s essentially nothing that remains of her home but charred frames and debris a foot thick.

Solemn, she periodically bent down, nipping and pulling at pages from one of her children’s high school yearbooks in an effort to salvage something from this devastating fire that claimed her Laguna Heights home Wednesday evening.

“You know, it wasn’t the nicest home. It was made of wood (not brick), but it was mine, I raised eight children here,” Martinez said.

What angers Martinez and her family is the sense that the fire could have been avoided. “It’s too late for me, I’m doing this for everybody else, so it won’t happen again,” she said.

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