Fire destroys million-dollar home (video)
The stubborn flames erupted vengefully from the nearly $1-million home as Susan Monty-Branfman watched her family memories flitter away Friday night.
Monty-Branfman once owned the two-story, 7,000-square-foot home in the 200 block of Creekridge Drive in the Springwood subdivision.
The blaze started about 6 p.m. in the attic of the home, now owned by Mike and Cindy Burris, of Victoria, said Victoria Assistant Fire Chief Tracy Fox.
A crew of 12 firefighters marched through the double doors of the home, which was vacant and under renovation by the Burrises, Monty-Branfman said.
Firefighters blasted the flames to no avail.
An hour later, the small fire grew larger, engulfing the entire roof, relentlessly promising to bring down its metal roof.
Residents of the neighborhood watched helplessly.
"We had such beautiful memories with family and friends," Monty-Branfman said after sending photos of the home slowly collapsing into itself to her three children.
The house, she said, was built in 1997. According to the Victoria Appraisal District website, it was valued at $969,850.
When Monty-Branfman owned it, the home had three bedrooms, a master bedroom, a library, a kitchen, a playroom and a home theater room. Many neighborhood children grew up playing in the house, she said.
The home was sold to the Burrises in April.
Burris said the home was insured. He said he and his wife put a lot of money into the nearly four months of renovation.
Because of the fire, smoke and water damage, the house is a total loss, Fox said.
Fox said this was the largest single-structure home fire he has seen in recent memory.
It is unknown what caused the blaze.
Fox said they were routinely changing out firefighters, who were blasting the fire from all sides.
At one point, firefighters had to evacuate the home for fear of the roof collapsing, which eventually happened.
Deborah Zuniga, who works next door for a family, first saw the small fire and one fire engine when she arrived.
She pulled out a lawn chair and sat back, watching as the fire grew.
"They're really trying," she said.
Fire crews worked throughout the night to ensure the fire was contained.
Monty-Branfman said she feels sad for the Burrises but is glad nobody was hurt.
"When it's all said and done, material things come and go, but your family and memories you'll have for a lifetime," she said. "At least their memories weren't taken away from them."