'Don't take anything for granted': Couple loses home to fire in northwest Houston on Christmas Eve

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- One family in northwest Houston is living a Christmas nightmare after a fire destroyed their home Thursday morning.

Instead of celebrating the holiday, the Cunningham family said they are digging through piles of debris.



"All but one bedroom is totally burned," Linda Cunnningham said. "Water, sheet rock, it's all mud."

Cunningham said her elderly parents, who are in their 80s, live at the home on Lawn Wood Lane. They were sleeping, along with their adult grandchild, when a fire started at about 4:30 a.m.

The home has been in the family since the 1970s, and now, everything from their clothing to valuables has been destroyed.

During the fire, Cunningham said her mother, Edith, escaped through a bedroom window with the help of her granddaughter. Cunningham's father, Rick, is in the hospital suffering from burns.

"He got burned badly, and he's in his 80s so we are hoping he's going to get out," Cunningham said.

The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating, and while they are unsure about the cause, they said it's a good reminder on fire safety during the holidays.

The Houston Fire Department has a list of tips on their website, including making sure to check smoke detectors and changing the battery once a year.

They advise you to never leave food that is cooking unattended. As far as Christmas trees go, make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat. When it comes to candles, make sure you are using a candle with a base large enough to hold melted wax and that it's secure from tipping over.

While Cunningham said her parents have lost everything, she said she hopes it serves as an important lesson to others not to take anything for granted during the holidays, and remember what's truly important.

"Everyone is alive. That's the biggest thing," Cunningham said. "You can give someone a present, but you can't replace this. Don't take anything for granted. Give your loves a hug."

The family has created a GoFundMe page for anyone who would like to donate.
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