Poteet family’s homes destroyed by fire started in neighbor’s yard

Belinda Martinez is on disability which is why she says losing everything is the worst pain she’s ever felt.

POTEET, Texas – A Poteet woman’s life has been devastated after her neighbor’s mistake resulted in her home being destroyed by a massive fire. That woman is now leaning on the community for help.

Belinda Martinez, 50, said she was in her mobile home with her grandchildren, three dogs and cats on Jose Olivia Lane when the fire broke out. It happened Friday around 3 p.m. during windy conditions.

“I opened my door because I love to look outside, and when I opened my door, all I could see was smoke,” Martinez said. “At that point, I realized that the fire was already around my home and was already on the back corner of my house.”

Poteet fire officials said the fire started from a neighbor’s unattended trash fire before it got out of control and burned across their property to Martinez’s property.

“All I could do was think about how to get the children out,” she said. “I just froze because I didn’t know what to do, but then I saw a fireman running and screaming for me to get out. The fire was already around me.”

Martinez said she could only scream. She said the fire official took her to her neighbor’s home while they fought the flames.

“I was watching my home burn,” she said as she wept. “I just got new TVs, new furniture, everything. All of the hard work put into my home was gone.”

Martinez is also without all of her pain medications for her several medical issues, including lupus.

“I am fighting to get my pain medicine back because my doctors won’t replace them,” she said. “I have nothing.”

Martinez’s home wasn’t the only one destroyed in the fire.

“My son’s home was destroyed by the water and fire also,” she said. “He lives on my property. For a second, I thought, I have a place to stay, but then I realized his was destroyed from water and fire too. I was like, ‘Where do we go?’ We are just stuck in the van.”

Fortunately, a company was gracious enough to donate Martinez an RV, but it doesn’t have any water or electricity. She said it is difficult to get in and out of it due to her inability to walk well.

“They help me in, and if I go in, I have to stay there until someone helps me out,” she said. “I have to wait for my son to get off work to help me inside. If I’m outside, I sit in the van until he gets home.”

She has also received some clothes and soap but has to find a way to get food and find a place to shower.

As temperatures drop, Martinez said she could use a heater. She said she is also in need of materials to rebuild her home.

“I don’t need anything big,” she said as she wept. “It can be anything small. I just need something to help me live. I don’t know how I am going to do it on my own.”

Martinez said her neighbors apologized for the damage, but she prays no one else ever makes that mistake again.


Neighbors get wakeup call about deadly fire from passersby banging on doors

About the Authors

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.

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