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'Everything that she's worked for is gone': Fire burns down Belton woman's home, leaving her with nothing

Posted at 9:11 AM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 10:35:00-04

BELTON, TEXAS — What was supposed to be a normal Sunday night for Zynda Stagg quickly turned into her worst nightmare.

It was around 10 p.m. when her neighbor, who was burning trash nearby, burst into Stagg's quaint home on Mulberry Drive in Belton, in a panic, telling her to get out.

25News was there when Staggs got the first glimpse of what was left of her home in the daylight.

From a strong structure to piles of burnt debris, the sight brought the woman to tears, making it difficult to comment on the situation.

“Basically everything that she's worked for is gone,” her daughter Scota Gaston said.

It was the sight of the white, four-burner stove that the two used for decades,

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car seats melted at the handles,

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and family relics lying in piles of debris that made Gaston tear up, too.

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“It's devastating. It's hard, but it's [harder] for me because she's been working her entire life,” Gatson said, fighting to hold back tears from falling down her cheeks. “She literally worked at the VA, she retired, I believe in 32 years. So basically everything that she's worked for is gone.”

Gatson recalled moving into the home at just four years old and remembers the memories and items passed down by her grandmother and great-grandmother.

Artifacts that were decades-old, gone in seconds.

“My grandmother passed away some years back," Gatson said. "There was stuff in there of hers. There's so much stuff that's irreplaceable, and it's just it's crazy.”

Those family heirlooms -- and all of Stagg’s belongings -- were taken away from her just a fast as the wind could spread the flames from the neighbor’s trash fire to her home.

“You basically took everything away from my mom, and she's at a point where she can't get that back,” Gatson said, remembering what she told the neighbor when she heard what happened.

Now, only the memories remain, prompting the two to ask for help from the community.

“She really really needs a bed because she's sleeping on my couch,” Gatson admitted. “That's not something that I want for my mother, but anything, anything would help. Just anything and we're very, very thankful for anything.”

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the damages. The family did not have insurance. They’re also asking for donations of any kind.

According to Gaston, her mother is in need of clothing, briefs and shoes. She wears a size XL in her shirts and briefs, a size 18 in pants and her shoe size is 7 ½ wide.

She says you can go to her Facebook page at Scota Gaston to inquire about donations. They will even travel to pick it up.