SHSU Student Loses Home in Devastating Fire

A fire destroyed a Sam Houston State University student’s East Texas home in the wee hours of Sept. 14, leaving her family with little to nothing.

SHSU junior nursing major Shelby Sanders said she received a frantic phone call from a neighbor, who reported the fire in the 1700 block of Highway 105 in Sour Lake around 10 p.m.

“When I got the phone call, I immediately became short of breath and felt like I was having an anxiety attack because I wasn’t sure if [my family] was in the house when the fire started,” Sanders said.

Investigators with the Sour Lake Volunteer Fire Department have not confirmed the cause of the fire but believe it may have been started by a candle that was left burning.

“You probably had 20 ft. flames and it progressed throughout the attic,” district chief Glenn Withers with Hardin County ESD 5 said. “It ran ahead of us, we couldn’t get head of it, didn’t have the water volume to get ahead of it. It’s the largest single structure fire we’ve had in several years here.”

Sanders’ mother and sister were returning from the store when their trip was interrupted by an unexpected Facebook message.

“We were on our way to Beaumont trying to get an algebra calculator,” Sanders’ mother Karley Harris said. “Heading home, somebody messaged me on Facebook asking where I lived and told us there was a house fire.”

The owners returned to the home reduced to rubble.

The fully involved blaze consumed the entirety of Sanders’ house, destroying sentimental items she had hoped would be a part of her upcoming wedding day.

“I’m getting married after graduation, so it was devastating to think about all of my pictures from childhood that are now gone,” Sanders said. “But as hard as it is to lose these things, I can’t express how thankful I am that no one was hurt.”

An account collecting monetary donations was set up for Sanders’ family. SHSU’s Student Nurses Association will also be accepting clothing, toiletries and nonperishable food items that can be delivered to the nursing building.

Visit to donate.

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