CISCO, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – On Tuesday morning, Elizabeth Malo of Cisco was abruptly woken up by the sound of her 70-year-old father running through the halls to warn her, her husband, Justin Webb, and their 2-year-old son Weston that fire was quickly infiltrating the house. The family quickly rushed out of their lifelong home and into frigid temperatures outside.
“It started on the outside wall of my dad’s bedroom. He started trying to wake us up, but we were all asleep in our room with our doors shut… My first instinct was to get Weston into my car, start my car, and get it warmed up for him. He had just woken up; he was still in his pajamas,” said Malo.
She said they believe the fire originated from a heat lamp in their backyard chicken coop that shares a wall with her father’s bedroom. All seven chickens perished in the fire, but Malo said everyone in her family escaped before the roof caved in around them.
“The sound of it was as if a tornado was going… I had run around the back to turn the water hose on to try and put out the fire… If we can get the fire put out back here, we wouldn’t have to worry about the rest of the house y’know? Trying to save it. And that did not work,” Malo said.
They had inherited the home from her husband’s family. He had spent his childhood there, and together with his wife, they had put in ten years of hard work to turn the house into their own. They had recently paid off the home and gained full ownership, though they were going through the process of renovating the house to meet the requirements for home insurance.
“We did not qualify for the insurance because of how much work was needed to get the home insured,” Malo shared.
The local community members, neighbors, friends, and family united to provide temporary accommodation for the family in a hotel. Generous donors also contributed funds to secure an apartment for them. While Malo said she is eternally grateful for this outpouring of love, she acknowledged that nothing could replace their home and the precious memories associated with it.
“What is it like to look at it right now?” KTAB/KRBC asked.
“Devastating. With how much we’ve put into the home and then just getting it paid off, and you work so hard to get something, and then it’s gone. And you have to start over again… All of Weston’s baby stuff… Learning how to walk up the stairs, first steps up the stairs, it’s the little things you look at,” Malo responded.
A family friend and co-worker of Malo’s is managing the donation process. Tyler Riley can be contacted at (254) 631-9706 to facilitate any donations. Malo stated that they currently need apartment furnishings such as beds and a couch. All of their large appliances and furniture were destroyed by the flames and water on Tuesday, October 31.