By Kathi Bliss
A Lockhart family was displaced, their home destroyed last Thursday evening as a fire ripped through the Trinity Street residence.
Though no one was injured in the blaze, the family lost five pets, and most of their worldly belongings as the flames ravaged the 104-year-old home in the 700 block of Trinity Street.
The resident, Keely Garrett, was preparing for her son Skylar’s 14th birthday party while the seventh grader was at a track meet. He called, around 9 p.m., to let her know the team had returned to Lockhart Junior High, and she left the house to pick him up.
By the time they returned half an hour later, firefighters were battling the blaze that began in a front hallway, and Garrett could do nothing but watch while the home she had made for her children for the last eight years went up in smoke.
“I was standing there in my sock-feet in the street, and there was nothing I could do,” Garrett posted on Facebook after the blaze. “And then God went to work.”
In the wake of the fire, friends and strangers unified as a community to help Garrett and her son not only clean up the wreckage of their home, which will likely not be salvageable, but also to find them a place to live in the community, and to replace the things they have lost.
She also has two grown children who did not live in the home, but who joined their mother in watching precious memories burn in the blaze.
According to Lockhart Fire Department Chief Jerry Doyle, the initial call reporting the blaze came in at 9:29 p.m., and by the time firefighters arrived on the scene, flames were visible through the front windows and front door, and smoke was escaping from the roof.
Just after midnight, the 16 firefighters from Lockhart, Travis County ESD 11 and Mid-County Volunteer Fire Department had cleared the scene, extinguishing the fire in the five-room house, and leaving little behind but dust and ashes.
On Friday morning, Garrett, her children, and several friends returned to the home, attempting to retrieve the few belongings they could.
At the same time, Lockhart was mobilizing, setting up a donation fund at First Lockhart National Bank, an online fundraiser, and collecting toiletries, clothing and furniture to help the Garrett family get back on their feet.
In addition, friends planned a birthday party for Skylar, who had hoped to host his friends for a backyard birthday party on Saturday afternoon.
By Wednesday morning, the cause of the blaze was still under investigation, Doyle said, with two leading theories, according to Garrett, being a candle in the front hallway, and new wiring that had been installed early last week.
Doyle said the investigation would continue, in cooperation with the property owner’s insurance company to determine the cause of the blaze.
For information about fundraising efforts and donation drives to help the Garrett family, contact Kathi Bliss at (512) 398-4886, or visit https://www.youcaring.com/keelygarrett
Editor’s note: At this time, the Post-Register is not accepting in-office donations of clothing, shoes and other household items for Ms. Garrett and her son. However, arrangements can be made for pickup of donated items. Thank you for your prayers and support of the Garrett family.