SPICEWOOD — When Marvin Alcorn went back into his neighbor’s condo and found the disabled man’s cat in a bedroom, he realized he had little time.
“(The cat) was scared and trying to hide instead of getting out. It was really hot,” Alcorn said. “That end of the building was already on fire. I could hear the flames crackling.”
Just minutes after he rescued the cat, flames engulfed the Townhomes at the Hill at Windermere, which are comprised of two buildings with eight units.
“That’s the good thing — that everyone made it out,” said Alcorn, who is a Texas National Guard reserve. “There were no lives lost and no one injured.”
The blaze destroyed the condominium complex in the 400 block of Kindall Drive, located off CR 414, about 4 a.m. Nov. 17 in the small community called Windermere Oaks, which is on the Colorado River in eastern Burnet County.
Along with four other families, Alcorn lost all his possessions as well as his home.
On the morning of the fire, Alcorn’s other neighbors, including Matt, Jessica and 6-year-old Halleigh Huffman, watched as firefighters attempted to control the blaze, which consumed the cedar structure and destroyed their homes and belongings as well.
“I was just in shock. Even at this point, you just have to think of the positive,” Jessica Huffman said. “We’re so thankful to have gotten out of there. We’re just so blessed to have gotten out of there.”
That morning, the Huffmans, who own and operate JM Huffman Heating and Air, moved into a recreational vehicle that was relocated to Spicewood by a family member.
“We have a lot of clothes donations through family, friends and people I’ve done work for,” Matt Huffman said. “We’re just going to keep working and pull ourselves out of this. Everyone who needs help, they need a lot more than me and my family do.”
In the meantime, Halleigh continues to attend Spicewood Elementary School.
“She’s been stronger about this than we have. We’re very fortunate it hasn’t hurt her that much,” Jessica Huffman said. “We’re just keeping our eyes open for something we can rent.”
Matt Huffman has another daughter, Saige, who lives with the family part time. She also lost personal items in the blaze.
Other fire victims were Denver Reno, a disabled retiree, and his son Mark; Jeannie Shirley, who owned two of the condos; and Brad and Glynnis Davis.
Community groups who have assisted them include the American Red Cross, the Lion’s Club, the Spicewood Property Owners Association, the Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department and EMS and the Windermere Oaks Homeowners Association.
“It’s been amazing,” Alcorn said. “The Spicewood community has really helped so much. It’s really humbling.”
Dana Martin, a nearby resident and coordinator of a fundraising project for the families, said, “When you see your neighbor in trouble and in need, I think your heart gets bigger and you want to be there to help. We’re seeing an outpouring of wonderful and big hearts to help the victims of this awful fire.”
To help the families, donate to the Windermere Oaks Fire Donation Fund at Grand Bank locations in Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay.
To donate online, go to www.youcaring.com and search for Windermere Oaks Fire Donation Fund.