Fire ravages home hours after Houston family gets power back after Beryl

Fire ravages home hours after Houston family gets power back after Beryl

HOUSTON – A massive fire forced a family in the South Acres neighborhood to leave their home just hours after power was restored Tuesday.

The fire happened around 8:30 p.m. on Palisade Drive near Cullen Boulevard, just after a utility crew came to fix a neighbor’s sparking power line.

“This house brought back a lot of memories,” said Katherine Newsome, who grew up in the house 60 years ago. “We’re going to miss it.”

Her granddaughter saw the smoke and flames and then helped everyone, including the dogs, to safety.

“Everything started to explode and get worse,” said her granddaughter, Syria Brightmon. “It hurts to see the house like that.”

Just before the fire started, a neighbor two doors down said she was having trouble with her power lines and that a utility crew had just left.

The neighbor, who did not want to reveal her identity, used a video shared with her cellphone showing a power line causing sparks in her yard about an hour before the fire.

The day before, just after Hurricane Beryl hit, she said she reported a tree in her power lines and a live wire, possibly to CenterPoint Energy.

When the power was restored Tuesday afternoon, she said the voltage in her house was so high that she had to wear a rubber glove to avoid getting a shock. The wire was still down and sparking, she said.

That’s when she called CenterPoint again and said a crew came, eventually cutting part of a wire connecting her house to the utility pole.

“Right after they left his house, ours caught fire,” Brightmon said. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”

CenterPoint Energy told KPRC 2 it is investigating and will contact the customer for more information.

“I don’t agree with having a live wire anyway,” said Houston City Councilwoman Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, who represents the district.

She was told a live wire could have caused the fire, she said, but faulty wiring has not been ruled out.

“Once this is complete, CenterPoint will need to make a concerted effort to actually address these issues,” she said.

The neighbor whose power line was cut said that while there was power on the street, her house didn’t have any after the line was cut. So she found another place to stay for now. She’s still trying to figure out how to pay for it and make the necessary repairs.

“It was a difficult situation,” Evans-Shabazz said. “They definitely need resources. They definitely need help.”

Newsome’s family has no insurance and is now looking for a new home.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” Brightmon said. “It’s time for a fresh start.”

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