‘I just broke down;’ Morning house fire in Waco devastates family

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 3:50 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Waco family is devastated after an early morning fire completely destroyed their home Thursday.

“I just ran over here as quick as I could, and everything was in flames when I got here,” homeowner, Cassandra Auldridge , said. “The flames were shooting out of the roof of the house.”

Auldridge said she was staying with her dad who recently had surgery when phone calls and neighbors woke her up.

Her daughter and two grandsons were sleeping in the home when the fire started. Auldridge said the older child woke up when he saw flames coming up underneath the doorway.

“My grandson woke up and he went to go get his little brother, and he grabbed his little brother and they were running out of the house and his little brother fell,” she said. “So, he dragged him to the front door and got him out of the house. Then, they went and got their mom.”

When Audlridge got to the scene, she was relieved to see her family was safe, but what she did not see were her cats.

“That’s what broke me, seeing my cats on the ground,” she said.

Her two cats, Honey and Toothless, died in the fire.

“Honey was a rescue cat that I had for six years,” she said. “Toothless, we had him for a couple years. He was an amazing cat. I know that people think people are stupid because they love cats so much, but he played fetch. He was just a fun cat, and they didn’t make it.”

Auldridge said they also lost their clothes, appliances and many collectible items.

“My whole life was in there,” she said. “I had a collection of Barbies that I’ve had that my mom bought me from the time my babies were born until she died, and they are ruined. Everything’s gone.”

She said she was excited about this home she recently bought, and to see it all destroyed in an instant is devastating.

“I worked my whole life to get a house, and this is it,” Auldridge said.

As they start what will be a long recovery process, she said she is lucky that her daughter and grandsons.

“I’m just glad that everybody’s alive,” she said. “Even though the cats didn’t make it, I’m glad that my family is alive and that they’re okay because I don’t know what I’d do.”

Two of the three occupants were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the family said Waco Fire told them it could have been caused by the dryer.

Family has started a GoFundMe page to help with financial costs. Auldridge said they were told the home has to be rebuilt as the rest of the roof caved in later today.