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Family thankful to be alive after waking up to fire in laundry room

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Posted at 7:48 PM, Apr 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-23 20:53:13-04

Gilbert Hise is still in shock after watching his laundry room go up in an orange blaze just one week ago.

"It was a big, huge fireball whenever I started spraying it down," Gilbert said.

Gilbert's and his wife, Nathasha, woke up to the fire last Monday after their dogs starting barking in the middle of the night.

"My wife woke up at four in the morning.  She screams out 'oh my God, Bubba, the house is on fire," Gilbert said.

While Nathasha focused on getting their daughter and dogs out of the house safely, Gilbert ran outside and grabbed a hose to fight the flames.

Gilbert said the fire started behind the washing machine.

"It just spread from here to the dryer and was just climbing up the wall and into the ceiling. It just happened so quick," Gilbert said.

"I'm very happy that we all made it out safely," said Amara, Gilbert's daughter. "There's a few bumps and scratches and burns, but we'll all get over it at one point."

Minutes after the fire was put out, Gilbert and Nathasha started calling their friends for help. Gilbert also spent more than three hours in the emergency room being treated for multiple burns and smoke inhalation. 

"We had some friends who showed up immediately to start helping," Gilbert said. "They were there at 4:20 in the morning and if it wasn't for them I don't know where we'd be."

One friend, in particular, Sheldon Hirschmann, has barely left their side since. He's put in more than 40 hours of labor this week to bring the place back up to livable conditions.

"I wouldn't be much of a friend if I didn't, right?" Hirschmann said. "I've got a lot of people I know, but I have very few friends. So they call and say they need help, I don't have money to help but I've got time and I've got skills so that's what I put it in."

The Hise family is grateful to have the support of their friends as their piece their lives back together.

"I was feeling very thankful. We've been together 18 years. It's 18 years that we've built up, everything would have been gone," Nathasha said.

"We're managing to get through this. Without them, I don't know where we'd be," Gilbert said.

Gilbert said it's going to cost around $40,000 for a fire restoration company to fix all of the damage caused by the heat and the smoke.

An arson investigator with the Killeen Fire Marshal's Office said the fire did start around the washer, but he couldn't say whether or not it was a mechanical malfunction.

Gilbert said an engineer with Samsung will come to his home on Wednesday to determine if it was the washer that caused the fire.

If you would like to help the Hise family, you can email Gilbert at rivendarktd@yahoo.com. 

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