Pasadena ISD teacher loses everything, including 3 cats, in apartment fire

PASADENA, Texas (KTRK) -- Almost one week after a massive fire ripped through an apartment complex, a Pasadena ISD teacher is going back to work while also trying to rebuild what he lost.

Michael Jones is a sixth-grade math teacher at Nelda Sullivan Middle School in Pasadena, who lost everything, including his three cats, in the blaze.

The fire broke out during the early hours of Nov. 9 at the Ashmore Apartments in the 4200 block of Fairmont.

Jones told ABC13 that at about 2:30 a.m. he heard the fire alarms going off and could smell smoke. He jumped out of bed and rushed out the front door to see where the fire was coming from, and noticed it was in the unit directly behind him.

Once seeing the severity of the fire, Jones went back to his apartment to grab his phone and tried rescuing his cats. But when he couldn't get the cats out, Jones started alerting neighbors of the fire.

In a second attempt, Jones went back to his apartment for his cats.

"At some point, I ran back inside and the smoke was close to the floor and I crawled on my stomach to the bedroom and tried to get the cats out, and I said, 'This is a bad idea,' you know started coughing, so I crawled back out," Jones said.

By the time he ran back out, his apartment caught fire and everything went up in flames. Jones said he was given two of the cats a year ago and the third one, a kitten, he rescued from the streets a month ago.

"I lost everything. Memories. A high school yearbook," he said. "I bought a Fender guitar a month before - (it went) up in flames."

Baseballs signed by Astros' Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, were among the items lost.

Since the fire, he's been trying to rebuild and took a week off of work. But he adds that people have been very helpful. This week, he's heading back to work and said he is excited to see his students.

"To get back, to you know, to normalcy, be able to go back to my classroom. Pick up a lesson and teach. See my colleagues, anything that you know that takes my mind away from what happened," he said.

A GoFundMe has been set up to try and help Jones rebuild what was lost.
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