Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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December 19, 2013

City fire damages home, burns babysitter

JACKSONVILLE — A family was displaced from their home and a female babysitter suffered minor burns to her hands in a Tuesday afternoon structure fire in the 900 block of Howard Street, authorities said Wednesday.

No other injuries were reported.

Jacksonville Fire Marshal Dennis Tate said as many as eight firefighters spent at least two hours putting out the fire, the cause of which was undetermined and remained under investigation Wednesday, but was not believed to be intentional.

"The fire started in the bedroom while some kids who lived in the house across the street were with a babysitter," Tate said. "One of the kids, a little boy, came back to the house and noticed the bedroom was was on fire.”

The babysitter went across the street and tried to put the bedroom fire out, getting second-degree burns on her feet and hands.

“The neighbor busted a window out  and got the water hose in there, squirting  water,”  Tate said.

The neighbor had no luck halting the fire, however. It was finally stopped after firefighters arrived on the scene.

The mother and father of the children arrived home to find some closets and a bedroom were pretty much destroyed. The entire house received smoke damage so severe it was impossible to stay there. So the family relocated to relatives.

"So right now, the cause of the fire is undetermined but still under investigation,"  Tate said. "We're going to keep looking for a bit, and I'm sure their insurance company will send an investigator, which is common," he said.

In the event the victim's family cannot provide for their needs, the Red Cross is always available for fire victims, Tate added.

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