Fire destroys home, 2 pets lost, cause unknown

By Scott Aust
Garden City Telegram – December 23, 2013

Michael Blalock officially graduated from Garden City High School on Friday.

That night he watched as a fire burned the rental home he lived in for the last eight years with his mother, Kristie Goff, and his brother, Chance Blalock.

Thankfully — perhaps miraculously, given the season — the family was in the process of moving to a new home when the fire struck, so most of their irreplaceable items — keepsakes, photos, documents — already had been moved.

“We were very fortunate to get a lot of stuff out,” Blalock said Saturday morning.

Blalock and some friends had returned to the home, located at 1110 N. Ninth St., around 6:30 p.m. Friday to gather another load of things to take to the family’s new home when a buddy noticed a cloud of smoke coming out of the house.

“I ran up to the door and opened it and this giant ball of smoke hits me,” Blalock said.

His next thoughts were concern for the family’s pets who were still inside. Blalock and his friends were able to let one dog out the back door, but another dog and a cat couldn’t be saved.

“I could hear their tags jingling but I couldn’t see them because of the smoke. By that time I had called 911,” he said.

The Garden City Fire Department received the call at 6:36 p.m. and were on scene until 8:04 p.m. Two engines, a battalion chief and 11 firefighters responded to the blaze. The structure was fully involved when firefighters arrived.

Rick Collins, battalion chief, said the cause of the fire was unknown and under investigation.

No people were hurt in the fire. Blalock said his mom and brother were at the new house putting things away. The family lost some chairs, beds, a filing cabinet and a few clothes.

The family had lived in the home eight years to the day on Friday. They had planned to be completely moved out on Saturday. They rented the home from Dorothy Schmale, who died Aug. 28, and the property is owned by her estate.

Understandably shaken, Kristie Goff said it was rough to lose a couple of loved pets and the home they had lived in for so long.

“It kind of seems surreal. I would never have thought it would happen to us in a million years,” she said. “When I pulled up and saw flames coming out the door and over the roof of the house it was surreal. I could account for my kids, but I didn’t know where my pets were. It was terrifying.”

Goff said no one was seriously hurt, though Michael suffered some cuts and bruises trying to break out a window to save the pets.

“That’s the extent of it. We’re really blessed for that, because his first instinct was to run inside,” she said.

The family went through a roller-coaster of highs and lows on Friday, with Michael’s graduation news followed by the fire. Goff said Michael was excited about graduating.

“He called me and said, ‘Guess what, Mom? You’re talking to a graduated student.’ I’m so proud of him,” Goff said.

Goff, who works for Knight Time Medical, said she appreciated the help and support of friends and co-workers after the loss.

“My boss has been wonderful,” Goff said. “I mean the friends of the kids were there last night and were just wonderful, being supportive. It takes your friends to get you through something like this.”

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