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Caldwell residents lose all after motel fire takes pets, possessions

Posted at 8:19 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 23:02:47-05

CALDWELL, Texas — Fire marshals continue to investigate what caused the all-consuming Caldwell Motel fire from Tuesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the structure’s remains were still smoking and smoldering.

Among those remains lie the ashy ruins of several dozen lives. Though no fatalities were reported, personal belongings and several pets were demolished by the smoke and flames – leaving motel residents like Hannah Fischer and her husband Jacob Skuval with nothing.

“Yeah, that was our home – everything, all of our home," Fischer said. "Pictures, things from past loved ones, everything - it’s all gone.”

The young couple, who had been living in the hotel for three months, escaped the flames just in time, making sure to wake neighbors and warn them of the impending danger as the fire spread throughout the building.

The American Red Cross and United Way, along with numerous businesses, individuals, and churches, have stepped forward to help the victims.

“We have been working to coordinate the logistics for the people who are affected by the fire," said A.J. Renold, director for the American Red Cross – Central Texas. "...Last night it was just assisting with the Burleson County Health Resource Center, and looking at who was displaced, and how many people needed a place to stay.”

Twelve of the 37 fire victims required immediate assistance with housing, according to the Red Cross. Hannah Fischer noted that many of her neighbors at the motel were long-term, elderly residents.

According to Caldwell VFD Chief David Pevehouse, the cause of the blaze is still undetermined.

“Right now you’re looking at an approximately 40-year-old building," he said. "There’s a chance that the building codes were just different at that time... The wood is old, and the wind was kind of involved a little bit [yesterday]."

Firefighters extinguished the remaining hot spots on Wednesday, and local charities will continue to assist those displaced.

For residents like Fischer and Skuval, the future will be hard. They lost all their possessions, except for their written wedding vows and a few framed pictures.

“This will pass," Skuval said. "It’s only temporary. Everything that we lost were all items, not things like a life."

Those who would like to assist the fire victims can donate to the designated United Way fund, by texting the phrase CaldwellFire to 4-1-444.