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Neighbor thankful for safety after Thanksgiving attic fire

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Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012 4:00 am

One Longview resident said on Friday she had a lot to be thankful for even though fire scorched her neighbor’s half of their shared duplex Thanksgiving Day evening.

Neither Gloria Jackson, who lives at 128 Houston St., nor her neighbors, who live at 130 Houston St., were at home when a fire due to the structure’s wiring started in the attic about 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary said.

Jackson was in Henderson spending Thanksgiving night with a patient at Henderson Rehab and Health when she was called and told her home of 27 years was on fire.

“As I was driving back, I thought, ‘God blessed me. Even if I do lose everything I am blessed because I wasn’t there,’” Jackson said. “We are thankful the children weren’t in the other side of the home.”

Jackson said she was also thankful for the work of the Longview Fire Department that controlled the flames that consumed the 130 Houston Street side of the duplex and prevented any fire or water from damaging Jackson’s property — although there was minor smoke damage.

Jackson said she would share time with her children, who live in Longview, until she can re-enter her home.

“I got three children, so I can stay at one of their houses each night until they get it fixed,” Jackson said. “My children are a blessing.”

At one point when she was raising her children, Jackson said she rented both sides of the duplex from Bowles Real Estate, and the house has special meaning to her.

“I just hope they get the electricity and gas back on so I can go back to living in it,” Jackson said.

Zackary said wiring of two different sizes was connected in the attic and started the electrical fire that displaced Jackson and her neighbors, a family of four.

Although Red Cross was contacted, both families had a place to go after the home was lost, Zackary said.

Firefighters always understand the loss they see at a fire, but holidays are more difficult Zackary said.

“It is always sad when residents lose personal property, but it is a little more disheartening when there are Christmas presents under the tree or Thanksgiving dinner on the table ... and it interrupts a special day,” Zackary said. “You definitely enter it with a different mind set.”

Several of Jackson’s neighbors lost power and some members of the neighborhood reported hearing a loud pop about the time the fire started.

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