Homeowners sift through remains of their home

Homeowner on 1488 west of Magnolia picking through rubble of what used to be his home (Andy Cerota)
September 14, 2011 4:31:15 PM PDT
The Texas Forestry Service says there were seven new major fires across the state, adding to the more than 30 fires currently burning all across the Lone Star State. Most of the fires are in central and east Texas.

One of the biggest fires in our area is the Riley Road fire in the Montgomery-Grimes-Waller county area, which is now 95 percent contained.

What was once a thriving forest with homes has been transformed into a barren wasteland. Cars, homes, nearly anything that was left in the path of the fire is gone. On Wednesday, residents returning to one area of Waller County say they are blessed in spite of everything they lost.

Diann and Dudley Suggs still have photos of the house they called home for 34 years. Looking at what once was, it's hard to believe there's nothing left now but charred remains.

Diann said, "If God wanted it to stand, it would still be standing."

The couple drove in from Eagle Lake Wednesday morning and are seeing the wreckage for the very first time.

"It's sad," Dudley said. "A lot of work, burned up."

The Suggs are huge antique collectors. They absolutely love them. Their house used to be full of them -- everything from furniture to candy machines. But when the fire raced through on Labor Day, there wasn't time to get everything out. Now it's all gone, reduced to ashes.

Diann said, "Right now we need to get this garbage out of here because there's nothing salvageable, very little I'm sure."

The Suggs were amazed to see their gazebo still standing. It's only a few feet from their home and was virtually untouched by the flames.

"We had beautiful azaleas all around and a dogwood tree," Dudley recalled.

Memories are all they have left now. As devastating as this was, it's the one thing this wildfire couldn't rob them of.

"We are in such better shape than so many people," Diann said. "We have insurance, full coverage insurance. It's sad the house is gone but there are no lives gone."

Residents of the Remington Forest neighborhood, less than a half mile from here, are also being allowed to return home to survey the damage.


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