CAPULIN — Angela Gomez, 78, escaped an early morning fire at her home in Capulin with only her slippers.
She and daughter Patsi Gomez and Patsi’s husband Julian Jaramillo lived in the family home in Capulin where the Gomez children had grown up. A fire from a neighbor’s shed caught their house on fire about 4 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, Patsi’s sister Julie Gomez-Nuanes said.
“It started in the neighbor’s shed and burned to my sister’s house, which used to be my mom’s house, the house we grew up in. It’s a house we have had 40-plus years,” Gomez-Nuanes said.
She said the fire burned the entire west side of the house, and there is extensive damage throughout the house and the attic. Angela Gomez woke up and saw flames out the window, not realizing her own house was also on fire. She woke up her daughter and son-in-law and told them they needed to get out. By the time she returned to her room, “the flames were at her door,” Gomez-Nuanes said.
Grabbing a pair of pants and slippers, Angela escaped from her house, and she and her daughter and son-in-law took shelter in a car while firefighters responded to the double fire. Firefighters had received a call that a shed was on fire, not knowing initially that the neighboring house had also caught fire. They fought the fire into the daylight hours, with most of the flame out by 6 or 6:30 a.m., while smoke still lingered heavily in the house, according to Gomez-Nuanes.
At one point the fire reached the attic, so the firefighters had to extinguish the fire there, and the ceiling subsequently collapsed.
After the flames were out, the family was allowed to retrieve some of their mementos from the house but since the house could still contain hazards, the family is not returning to the structure at this time. They have closed it up and are awaiting word from fire and law enforcement officials and insurance representatives.
“It’s like a cave, it’s so full of soot and smoke,” Gomez-Nuanes said. “We can’t even go inside without our eyes watering.”
The Red Cross has temporarily put Patsi and her husband up in a hotel, and Angela is staying with Julie, who lives close by.
The family does not yet know if they can restore or rebuild their house.
Gomez-Nuanes said this is the second time the family has lost their house. When she was in third grade, the family home burned to the ground, “so the whole time I was pulling stuff out it was devastating for me because I went back to that day we were doing the same thing when I was in the third grade.”
The family has not been able to retrieve much from the house and have had to purchase all the basic essentials like toothbrushes and underwear.
Many area residents have asked how they can help. Donations may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 235 Alamosa CO, 81101 or made through a Gofundme site: https://www.gofundme.com/home-lost-in-fire-everything-lost?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_co_shareflow_m&fbclid=IwAR3a5ihCtZH3tj3O6qYT1ht-f2hEfFvYLVxhAGd6MlliC6B-f-eltHsDd2w
“It’s really devastating,” Gomez-Nuanes said. “I just kept thinking they just don’t have a house now.”