Woman loses house in fire months after daughter is shot and killed

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston community rallied around Paula Vergin and her family when her daughter, 21-year-old Rice University sous chef Essence Derouen, was killed while sitting in her car leaving Club Panda on the northside in March.

Less than three months after losing her daughter, she lost her home in a fire Tuesday morning.

"I really just started coming out of my funk," Vergin says.

She was at work where she's going through manager training when her boss called to tell her about the fire.

"When it rains, it pours," she tells us. "As soon as I got that call, I was like God why? But you can't question God. But He has a plan for me. He wouldn't put nothing on my plate that I couldn't handle."

Vergin's 14-year-old son was at home with her two-year-old, and Essence's son who has been with her since she was killed. She says the oldest boy tried to put the fire out with water, but the fire got worse.

"Just as long as they're safe, I'm ok," she says.

She tells Eyewitness News they lost nearly everything, and she now has to find another place to live. We were there as she went through the bags of what little didn't burn up in the fire. She'll have to start from scratch on just about everything. But some stuff is irreplaceable.

"I lost a lot of precious momentos. Some of Essence's clothes, pictures of Essence, stuff she had in the house that I was trying to save. Just keepsakes."

Friends have set up a gofundme account for anyone who'd like to help Paula Vergin and her family as they start over.

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