BRAZORIA — When he returned from picking up his daughter at school, Wayne Land opened his back door and saw smoke.
He told the 16-year-old girl to grab their water hose, but knowing her father suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she refused to let him go inside.
Land sat in the street for six hours last Wednesday afternoon, watching the house he spent five years building and 38 years living in burn to the ground.
“It was a two-story, four-bedroom, three-bath, den, fireplace,” Land said. “It was everything.”
The house is understood to be a complete loss, Brazoria Fire Chief Duane Stahl said.
Fire departments from Brazoria, Jones Creek, Sweeny, West Columbia, Old Ocean and Wild Peach responded to battle the blaze, Land said.
The fire was in the 1600 block of CR 797, about a mile outside Brazoria, Stahl said. No one was hurt fighting the fire, he said.
Land was told a space heater he had plugged in might have sparked the fire through its cord, even though it was not on, he said. The fire traveled quickly once he opened the door and exposed it to oxygen, Land said.
“Everything is gone. Matter of fact, it’s still smoking,” he said after visiting the site of the fire Tuesday.
He lost five generations of antiques that he had in the house, he said.
“Dolls and stuff like that,” Land said.
Land and his daughter escaped with only the clothes on their backs and are currently staying with her mother, Land said.
Land is hoping to get a camper and go live on his land again, he said.
“I don’t know how my finances are going to be,” Land said.
Sybil Curry, Land’s sister-in-law, has helped him get some help and wants to get the community involved. Land worked for the city of Clute for 18 years and is very well-known and well-loved, she said.
“He’s done a lot for our city of Clute,” Curry said.
He is not willing to ask for help himself, so she is trying to rally a support system for him, Curry said.
The Red Cross gave him some money to help with medical supplies, she said, but he needs machines to help him breathe when he travels and sleeps, along with other medicine.
“They lost everything,” Curry said.
A lot of her niece’s friends have stepped up to help her with clothes, she said. But they need a new place to live, Curry said, and she hopes the community will be willing to help. He has many friends who probably don’t know what he is going through, she said.
“However they want to help,” she said. “He will not ask them for nothing.”
Anyone interested in helping can call Curry at 979-824-0945, she said.