New Braunfels man living in backyard for weeks after fire destroys home

No electricity, no water, little food has victim scraping to get by

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – Almost two weeks ago, intense flames destroyed a house on Loma Vista street in New Braunfels.

Jesus Saenz Jr.’s mother owned the home since 1993. When the fire broke out, she and 15 others living on the property were forced to leave, including Saenz, who shared a garage a few feet away from the main house.

“It’s a shame that it went down like that” Saenz said. “They (firefighters) sprayed my garage so it wouldn’t start on fire, and all the sheet rock and insulation fell on everything.”

While most of the other victims were able to find suitable accommodations, Saenz remains homeless. He said authorities allowed him to shack up in a hut in his backyard that has no electricity and no water.

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Monday was the first time he showered in days. Food is also hard to come by. When Saenz gets donations, he barbecues in the backyard and eats it before it spoils.

“I do go to food banks and I’ve been getting help from people that drop off food and stuff,” Saenz said.

Daniel van Heenckeren is another victim who was left homeless by the fire. He’s living in his car, but said his problems could be worse.

“It’s a place to stay. It’s got A/C, it’s got heat,” van Heenckeren said.

But Saenz and his three dogs are left more susceptible to the elements. And with New Braunfels expecting rain over the next few days, he’s bracing for the wet weather.

“I don’t know what I’m cooking tonight,” Saenz said.

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Saenz said the home must be demolished, but that can’t happen until the incident report is complete, which could take a few weeks. Even then, he’s not sure if his mother will rebuild or move elsewhere.

A neighbor named Linda is helping to facilitate relief efforts. For those who would like to help, she can be reached at 830-387-6907.

Taylor Liverman, another former tenant who owns a landscaping company, said part of his proceeds will go towards Saenz and his family. Liverman can be reached at 817-891-9892.

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