Valentine’s to forget

Friends mobilize for woman who lost home to fire

Julye Keeble

Staff writer

When fire struck suddenly on Valentine’s Day in the 200 block of South Bates Street, Uvalde resident Juanita Rodriguez-Bermudez lost her home, but not her spirit.

“This was material stuff. It’s my material stuff, but no lives lost,” Rodriguez-Bermudez said of the fire, which destroyed her home, clothing, appliances and possessions.

Rodriguez-Bermudez is thankful to the first responders, including police officers, EMS, and firefighters who were dispatched to her home, and grateful she was at work and her daughter, son, and three grandchildren have other residences.

Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department sent approximately 15 firefighters with two pumper trucks and a tower truck at 3:01 p.m. on Feb. 14, where Rodriguez-Bermudez says she heard that responders were delayed by traffic and onlookers.

“I’m glad the house was empty, but my kids could have been in there, or an elderly person,” Rodriguez-Bermudez said, asking that anyone on the scene of an accident refrain from causing any delay to first responders accessing the scene.

After her son moved to Idaho approximately two years ago, Rodriguez-Bermudez was not using the upper area of the home, where she was told the fire started. She was working on remodeling her home, and she believes it is possible that the fire may have originated from squirrels gnawing into electrical wiring.

UVFD was on the scene for approximately an hour and a half. Though they contained the blaze within the first five minutes, they worked on hot spots to make sure the fire didn’t flare up or spread.

The house was paid for but not insured. “Unfortunately, everything did go,” Rodriguez-Bermudez said, stating that she plans to rebuild. She is currently staying with her parents.

No online donation formats have been set up as the family prefers in-person dealings.

For anyone wishing to donate, Rodriguez-Bermudez wears a size medium in shirts and pants, typically a size 6/8 petite, and a size 5.5 shoe.

Monetary donations are also being accepted, with a donation box set up at Sun Loan Company, 117 N. West St., and at her workplace next door, Security Finance, 115 N. West St.

A group of her friends – the group of 10 women meet monthly for fellowship – calling themselves the “Juany’s Harley Angels” are hosting a burger plate and bake sale on Saturday, March 28. The fundraiser will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot at Texas Home Furnishings, 2300 E. Main St.

Those wishing to donate to the fundraiser may contact Cecilia Garcia, 830-275-3375, or Rachel Fernandez, 830-719-8772. Items being sought for the sale include cases of water, soda, chips hamburger buns and baked goods. An account in Rodriguez-Bermudez’s name has been set up at Uvalde Meat Market, 508 S. Wood St., for those wishing to help contribute towards hamburger patties.

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