SWEENY — Agatha Sanchez worked for years to furnish and pay off her Sweeny home. Though the mobile home is a complete loss after a weekend fire, she considers herself blessed.
“I’m not finished,” Sanchez said Monday, after the Sunday afternoon fire. “I’m going to get right back up.”
Richard Foreman, a captain for Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office, is coordinating the effort to get donations to Sanchez and her family, he said. Sanchez, who organizes the Sweeny Community Thanksgiving Feast, started a coat drive at Brazosport College last year, ran Sweeny Pride Day for a decade and is always on call for anyone who needs it, is not used to being on the receiving end of community goodwill.
Sanchez was grocery shopping with her 5-year-old granddaughter when she got a call from her neighbor, who told her that her house was on fire, she said. She can’t help but think that she needs to thank the woman working the self-checkout line.
“I just looked at her really calmly and I said, ‘Can you please put this stuff back? I’m sorry, but my house is on fire. I need to go,’” Sanchez said.
It was a horrible sight to drive up to, she said. She pulled up to see the 1800 block of FM 1459, where her home has been for the last six years, closed by emergency vehicles.
“My grandbaby was in the backseat and all she could say was ‘my house is burning,’” Sanchez said. “Grandmas fix everything. We hem the little dresses. We fix everything. I couldn’t fix this one fast enough.”
By Monday afternoon, she had yet to figure out what time it was when the house caught fire and who called 911.
It’s undetermined how the fire started, but Sanchez suspects an electrical problem in the furnace or breaker box, she said.
Brazoria County Fire Marshal Martin Vela and Sweeny Volunteer Fire Department could not be reached for details Monday.
Sanchez is thankful that she, her 23-year-old daughter and her granddaughter, who both live with her, were not home when the fire started. Even the dog made it out, she said.
“We’re just lucky,” Sanchez said. “We’re not lucky, we’re beyond lucky. We’re blessed.”
She lost sentimental items including a quilt she made for her grandmother, her cap and gown from when she graduated with a welding certification at Brazosport College in May and her jewelry box, she said while rummaging through the remains Monday. Everything can be replaced, Sanchez said.
“I definitely have a God that’s very powerful,” she said. “He is a God of restoration and He’ll restore it. All of it.”
While rummaging through the remains of the home Monday, she found that some of her Bibles were burned on the outside, but the pages remained intact and the handwritten notes were still readable.
“You can’t take my faith from me, that’s one thing right now,” she said. “You can’t take my faith.”
Foreman is building a committee who can properly handle the donations, he said. This will be a “big project” and he wants to make sure experts in recovery handle each aspect appropriately, Foreman said.
“Anybody who wants to help is more than welcome,” Foreman said.
Right now they are focusing on clothes and personal hygiene items for the women and girl, he said. Anyone interested in donating can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sanchez is trusting Foreman and the numerous friends and family who have reached out to help, she said, as well as trusting in God.
“You can’t keep me down,” Sanchez said. “It’s going to be OK. ”