A Sanger family escaped unharmed but members are struggling to recover after their home burned down late Monday afternoon.
Guy Halverson said he and his 15-year-old son were working on their mobile home in the 8000 block of Lamar Street when his 4-year-old daughter came running out of a bedroom screaming, “There’s a fire.”
“I just was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Halverson said from a hotel room in Denton on Tuesday. “I was in disbelief.”
He said he could see smoke, but no visible flames. His son went out the back door, however, and came back with the news.
“He said you could see flames shooting out underneath the house towards the back,” Halverson said.
A neighbor called 911 shortly after 5 p.m. and the three inside the home made it out safely. The home was destroyed.
Marc Dodd, an investigator for the Denton County Fire Marshal’s Office, said Halverson was one of the most distraught men he had seen in a while.
“In 20 minutes, he watched all his family’s possessions burn,” Dodd said.
Halverson said his ex-wife, who also lived at the home, was at a doctor’s appointment and his 10-year-old daughter was visiting her grandmother. The family owned three cats and, so far, only one has been accounted for.
Donations to help the family can be dropped off at Executax, the office of Halverson’s friend, Jaye Hopps, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or can be made at any branch of First United Bank under “For the Benefit of Guy Halverson.” Donations can also be mailed to the Sanger branch at 1403 W. Chapman Drive, Sanger, TX 76266. Checks should be payable to Guy Halverson or “for the benefit of Guy Halverson.”
The family had insurance and Halverson said he was told Tuesday morning that he should be hearing from an adjuster soon.
But Hopp, a self-described “adoptive brother” of Halverson, said the family had been struggling financially and now with the fire, has lost most of their belongings including cellphones and chargers. He knew immediately he wanted to help.
“We have been friends since we were kids,” Hopp said. “I put them up in a hotel for a week in Denton until they could get their feet on the ground.”
The family had owned the home since 1997 and had been living on the property, located in Denton County west of Sanger, since 1999.
Officials said the master bedroom/bathroom area is believed to be where the fire originated and the cause remains under investigation.
Dodd said people are often astonished at how quickly a fire spreads, and he encouraged everyone to check their smoke detectors to ensure they are working properly.
“If you don’t already have them installed in your bedrooms, do so,” Dodd said. “They save lives.”
Halverson said he rejected offers for medical treatment at the scene.
“I did suffer some smoke inhalation, but I wanted to stay and be with my family so I didn’t go to the hospital for treatment like they wanted,” he said. “I am still coughing today.”
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.