Three-alarm fire destroys family's Thanksgiving

November 26, 2009 4:21:28 PM PST
It's not how one Magnolia family expected to spend their Thanksgiving. Their home was destroyed by an early morning fire. And what happened to them may prevent the same thing from happening to another family. The turkey was prepared and family members were arriving in just a few short hours. But there would be no happy Thanksgiving for the Terra family at their home on Ascott Farms Road in Montgomery County. Instead, they are just grateful to be alive.

"I see this on TV, but I never thought it would happen to us," said Alfred Terra, Jr.

Terra chokes back tears as he surveys what's left of the home he shared with his elderly parents, and the holiday plans that will never be realized.

"Thanksgiving, well we're having relatives over, my aunt, uncle and cousins," he said.

It was going to be the ideal Thanksgiving. The turkey, now on the front yard, was already in the oven. The elder Terras and Alfred went to bed sometime after midnight, but they left a small fire going in the fireplace. And by 2:30am, the smoke detectors were going off.

"I was running throughout the house, panicking, looking for fire," he said.

All three got out of house alright, but the fire would eventually go to three alarms, and what started in the chimney would engulf the home.

"We don't recommend you leave a fire going all night if you're going to bed," said Captain Jim Hanson with the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department. "We recommend you try to time it and put it out before going to bed."

A Thanksgiving that was supposed to be celebratory will now instead be a day to start the rebuilding.

"We're a strong family," said Terra. "We'll regroup, and start all over again."

The family says it will rebuild, but admits many of the mementos will never be replaced.


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