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Midland family recounts harrowing escape from house fire

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 4:28 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - A Midland family is thankful to be alive after narrowly escaping a house fire early Saturday morning.

“I just woke up and saw the flames,” said Venetia Cereceres.

Cereceres says nothing, in particular, woke her up around 2:30 a.m. When she woke up, she found a wall of fire consuming her bedroom walls and ceiling.

“I didn’t have time to react,” she said. “I didn’t have time to think.”

Luckily, Venetia’s three children, ages 3, 5, and 7, were in bed with her.

“I grabbed one kid, ran him to the living room, came back to grab the other two, then ran out with all three of them,” she said.

To get out of the house, they had to go right by the fire. Focused on saving her children, Venetia left behind her phone and the family’s two-year-old cat, Blue.

Once outside, she ran to a neighbor’s house and called her husband Manuel, who was out of town.

“It’s 2:38, and my wife is calling me from the neighbor’s number, and she said, ‘Hey, the house is on fire.,’” Manuel said.

By the time Manuel got back to Midland, the house had been declared a total loss. An investigation determined the fire was caused by an issue with a window A/C unit.

Since Saturday, the family has been staying at a hotel courtesy of the Red Cross. The transition has been difficult for the children.

“The first few nights were rough,” Venetia said. “They do have a hard time falling asleep. But once they fall asleep, they’re ok.”

Not all of their possessions were destroyed. Venetia’s family bible survived, as did some family photos. Other items, like her phone and all of their clothing, did not.

In that loss, there’s a joy that everything important survived, including Blue. It turns out the family cat cashed in some of his lives.

“You can replace stuff, but you can’t replace a life.”

If you’d like to help the Cereceres family, you can find a link to a GoFundMe page here.

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