Disaster strikes twice for Nederland family; Donations sought for victims of house fire

Published 6:31 pm Saturday, July 2, 2016

NEDERLAND — Kim Christian didn’t notice her house was on fire at first.

As she got out of her car last Sunday afternoon she may have walked past a fallen, charred piece of vinyl siding in front of her Nederland home but she’s not sure. Then her daughter, Karli, 16, saw smoke and soot on the living room window.

Damage to the Nederland home. Courtesy photo

Damage to the Nederland home.
Courtesy photo

Christian was busy greeting one of the family dogs outside the rented home when Karli uttered the fateful words.

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“She said ‘mom, I think the house is on fire,’” Kim Christian said. “We opened the door but couldn’t even see inside. We hollered for our other dog but knew he couldn’t make it out.”

Christian raced to the back door and found the dog crouched as far away as he could. That’s when she saw the melted clock on the kitchen wall.

The mom quickly got on the phone and called 911 while Karli made a frantic call to her grandmother, Beverly Herford.

“At first I couldn’t believe it. I was just there two hours ago,” Herford, owner of Merle Norman Cosmetics and Belle Boutique in Groves, said.

While her daughter and granddaughter were out of town Herford was on deck to feed the pets two times a day and had left the house around 11 a.m.

The family cat was too scared to run out during the chaos but was found and oxygen was given by one of the Nederland firefighters who responded to the fire.

Afterward, the family wanted to see what could be salvaged — then the fire rekindled around 6 p.m., Nederland Fire Chief Gary Collins said of the fire that was electrical in nature.

This marks the second time Christian lost everything to a disaster. In 2008 Christian and family were living in Bridge City when Hurricane Ike destroyed much of the city’s homes including their own.

“We lived in Bridge City and lost everything in Ike,” she said. “Then we moved to Nederland in March.”

After the fire, the American Red Cross stepped in with temporary housing assistance and referrals to other agencies.

The future is unclear for Christian, who is a teacher at Beaumont’s Regina-Howell Elementary School and her daughter who is a high school student.

“We’re playing it by ear right now,” she said.

Repairs are being made to the home by the owner.

A donation jar has been set-up at Herford’s business, Merle Norman Cosmetics, 4300 Lincoln Ave., Suit 2, in Groves and a GoFundMe page can be found at www.gofundme.com/kimchristian

For more information about how to help the family call 728-1190 or email kimkarli@yahoo.com