Dog presumed dead in northwest Harris County house fire

Fire officials say the woman was able to escape with one dog but a second one didn't make it out of the burning home
December 23, 2013 9:44:16 AM PST
A two-alarm fire ripped through a northwest Harris County home overnight. The homeowner was able to escape without injury, but one of her two dogs wasn't able to make it out.

It happened just after midnight at a home on Corral Drive.

Carolyn Stewart had lived in the house for more than 20 years. Her husband passed away in the home and her children grew up there. It's now a total loss, two days before Christmas.

"I know she probably had Christmas gifts in there and things of that nature for her grandkids," said Brooke Dozier, a relative of Stewart.

Stewart's longtime home in Ponderosa Forest was destroyed by the fast moving flames.

"By the time they came over and got everything out, the fire department did claim it as a total loss," said Dozier.

Stewart says her barking dogs woke her up. She noticed the chair next to her bed was on fire.

"I tried to go to the bathroom and get a bucket to put the fire out myself , but it was just way too far gone," she said.

Stewart couldn't get to her phone to call 911 with a broken ankle. The phone was on the other side of the flames, so she drove to the nearby fire station.

"I honked and the guys came out and I gave them my address and (told them) to please follow me," said Stewart.

At least one neighboring house suffered exterior damage as well. Ponderosa's fire chief says this is one of six recent house fires in this neighborhood, the second on this street this week.

"We've had candles unattended. We've had Christmas decorations. We've had a heating unit. We've had a space heater. But this one is undetermined. At this time, it appears to be electrical," said Ponderosa Fire Chief Fred Windisch.

Stewart says she had several things, including a C-Pap machine, a lamp and a heating blanket plugged into one extension cord and suspects that might be the culprit. Now she and her family will spend Christmas Eve sorting through the remnants of years of memories.

"We're gonna come back tomorrow, the family is and just find out what can be salvaged and just go from there," said Dozier.

Stewart had two dogs. One got out, but the other didn't. Firefighters presume the missing dog didn't make it out of the burning home. As for homeowner, she's OK. She will be staying with her daughter for the time being.

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