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Fire destroys longtime Sanger resident's home

This story has been updated with a link to a GoFundMe page set up for the family. 

SANGER — Cicily Price has cleaned homes in the Sanger area for many years, all while living in the only home she has ever known at 400 Railroad Ave.

On Wednesday morning, the 960-square-foot home was consumed by a fire that flickered four feet above the roof at one point. Sanger Fire Chief David Pennington, who knows Price personally, said she lost everything from clothes to furniture to Christmas presents for her grandchildren. 

A GoFundMe page has since been created for the family. 

Pennington said five other family members had been living with her at the time, including two children and two grandchildren. The American Red Cross was on the scene Wednesday helping the family find short-term housing. 

Longtime Sanger resident Cicily Price looks at the extent of the damage to her house after a fire Wednesday morning. Sanger's fire chief said she lost everything, including Christmas presents for her grandchildren.DRC
Longtime Sanger resident Cicily Price looks at the extent of the damage to her house after a fire Wednesday morning. Sanger's fire chief said she lost everything, including Christmas presents for her grandchildren.
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Price, 62, said she didn't want to talk about the incident. She kept herself busy on Wednesday afternoon trying to salvage belongings among the wreckage with firefighters. 

A close friend, Denton financial adviser James Earp, said he drove Price to the home when she was notified about the fire. She had been at his house when she got the call, he said. 

"She was immediately crying when they said her house was burning," Earp said.

Earp said Price, who was born and raised in Sanger, has cleaned his office on Locust Street in Denton for about five years. His company's office manager grew up in Sanger with Price's daughter, and Earp said he's come to know the family well. 

He said Price told him she didn't want charity because she's "worked all her life." 

"A person is proud to say, 'I've worked and I've saved and I've paid my bills, and I don't want any charity,'" Earp said. "Well, I think it's the time where God will put it in the hearts of people to help her, and she'll know it's not charity — it's love." 

The office manager at Earp's business, Kristi Tovar, was best friends with Price's daughter at Sanger High School. Tovar said she hung out at the home when Price's mother was still living there. 

"I've been there many times, and the grandma was sweet as pie," Tovar said. "They were and are a close-knit family." 

She added that the family was well-known in the community at the time. 

"We all grew up together," Tovar said. "A lot of people know a lot of people there." 

Two community members said Price had cleaned houses for roughly 40 years in the Sanger area. 

Pennington said a neighbor initially called about the fire at 11:46 a.m. When firefighters arrived on the scene, the roof had already collapsed, he said. 

"It obviously had been burning for a while," he said, adding that the house was a total loss. 

Investigators were still trying to determine the official cause of the blaze Wednesday afternoon. Pennington said it appears to be accidental. 

"Unfortunately, she told us for the last few days she's been smelling something rubber that smelled like it was melting," he said. "And she had been having problems with her breaker that went into the kitchen." 

Longtime Sanger resident Cicily Price lost her home on Wednesday morning after it was consumed by a fire. She was born and raised in Sanger, where she cleaned homes for about 40 years, according to friends and fellow residents.DRC
Longtime Sanger resident Cicily Price lost her home on Wednesday morning after it was consumed by a fire. She was born and raised in Sanger, where she cleaned homes for about 40 years, according to friends and fellow residents.
DRC

On Wednesday, Price had been looking for other personal belongings in the charred home.  She told firefighters about an envelope with a "substantial amount of cash" that had been left inside, Pennington said. 

Nearby residents trickled to area, hugging family members and watching as firefighters cleared out the building.

"This is the only home she's ever known, right here," Earp said. 

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882. 

FEATURED PHOTO: James Earp, right, consoles his friend Cicily Price after "the only home she's ever known" burned Wednesday in Sanger. Price had been living there with two of her children, two grandchildren and another family member.