Looking at the blackened walls and charred remnants of what until Friday had been her family’s home, Melissa Sliger almost apologized the damage didn’t appear to be worse.
“It may not look so bad,” Sliger said, “but it took everything we had. All we’ve ever had — our furniture, dishes, appliances, beds, clothes, our daughters’ toys — is gone.”
The fire in the small three bedroom, single bath home on U.S. Highway 183 North, just past Heartland Mall, was likely caused by a short in an air-conditioning window unit.
Sliger said their family wasn’t home when neighbors called about 8 p.m. Friday and told them they needed to come home quick. Their house was on fire.
While the exterior of the frame house is mostly intact, the interior is heavily damaged by smoke and water.
Sliger said she and her husband Jeff had been renting the home for a little more than two years from Wink and Donna Jackson, and that the Jacksons had arranged for them to get into another house, also on 183 North. By Monday evening, Jackson had found a refrigerator to go in the house and said he was looking for a stove. Appliances are all electric, Melissa Sliger said.
“We’ve got a roof over our heads, and we’re thankful for that,” Melissa Sliger said. “We have a lot to be thankful for really.”
By Monday, with the help of family and friends, the Sligers had taken about four trailer loads of ruined household goods to the landfill.
“There’s nothing that could be salvaged,” Melissa Sliger said. Then glancing at her husband who had just returned for one more load for the landfill, she added, “We’re young. We can start over. We have to remember that our girls are OK and we’re OK.”
“And that we have a place to sleep tonight,” said Jeff Sliger.
He pointed at a couch and love seat loaded in a trailer and said, “Our friend’s mom said we could have those. They’ll clean up pretty good, and the couch makes a bed so we won’t have to sleep on the floor tonight.”
The Sligers’ daughters, 8-year-old Destiny and 6-year-old Shiann, went to spend the day Monday at Boys and Girls Club, Melissa Sliger said. They’ll probably go back today. Jeff, who works for the Zephyr Water District will have to return to work soon, maybe even today.
Destiny’s clothes size is 7-8 and Shiann wears a 6, their mother said.
“I’ll be at the house, the new place,” she said. “And tears welling up in her eyes, she said, “It’s too painful to come back here and look at this.”
The new address is 2906 U.S. Highway 183 North, and those who can make donations of beds, furniture, dressers, tables, dishes, kitchen ware, any household goods can deliver them there. Or, to make arrangements, call Jeff Sliger at 642-4201, or his mother, at 646-0932. It’s possible donations can be picked up, Jeff Sliger said, since he has use of a trailer for several days.
Also, an account has been set up for the family at TexasBank, and any financial assistance will be greatly appreciated.
“We need everything,” Melissa Sliger said. “I look around at what’s left, and I think, it’s my whole life, even if I know it was just things and things can be replaced, it’s pretty intense.”