CARBON, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – It’s been three weeks since multiple fires ripped through Eastland County, destroying hundreds of acres and leaving many without a home. However, one Carbon man took matters into his own hands a week after the fires destroyed his home.
Mother Nature was good to Eastland County since the fires struck in mid-March. The area saw ample rainfall, allowing fresh grass grow, and trees and flowers to bloom.
It’s not the desolate, char-covered pastures it was during the days following St. Patrick’s Day. New life is evident, meaning new beginnings should follow.
For Roberto Hernandez, a new beginning is exactly what he needed. He lost everything within seven minutes of the fire first hitting the town of Carbon.
Having already evacuated to Gorman, Hernandez’s only knowledge of the damage done was through Snapchat videos from his son. Bright red flames engulfed his home, taking everything from his furniture to the lone picture of his late-father with them.
“I love this town,” Hernandez said. ” I ain’t going nowhere, and I’m building back.”
Hernandez literally meant he was building back. Just a week after the fires, after getting clearances from his insurance agency, he began pouring a new concrete foundation, putting up walls and building his new temporary home directly behind his old one.
As of Thursday, Hernandez just needed to finish putting in insulation and dry wall. He said it should be a livable home without electricity by Sunday, April 10.
However, many residents of Carbon were not as fortunate to receive their insurance funding in a timely manner, or did not have home insurance when the fires hit. These conditions left hundreds without homes, Fire Chief Jody Forbus told KTAB/KRBC.
“We’re still needing help with dump trucks, skid steers and people coming in with big wheel loaders and stuff like that to help us load the debris off,” Forbus explained.
30 out of the 80-plus destroyed homes in Carbon have been cleared, but still need building supplies to get the town back on the right track. With constant help slowing down in recent days, Forbus said they’re asking for any kind of building or monetary donations.
“We’re seeing some good, but we’re not quite at the point where we can start building back, yet,.” Forbus said.
For Roberto, however, once his new home is finished and he is moved in, he won’t be stopping there. He said once he’s fully moved in, he will begin helping anyone in need of assistance build, repair or help them in any way he can.
“I want to help because, you know, there’s no place like home,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said he loves how close the Carbon community is and how much stronger they are after the fires. He said he has faith the town will build itself back up to a thriving community, even if it takes them building one house at a time.
Forbus said the best way to help out their clean up and rebuilding processes is by donating building supplies, monetary donations or by helping load and unload the remaining debris.
To make a monetary donation, you can donate through the Carbon Volunteer Fire Department or through Carbon City Hall. You can also donate through the Community Foundation of Abilene by clicking this link.