A family in Dexter have received an outpouring of support from their community after recently losing their house a week ago.
Sandra and Andy Tarin — both volunteers with Dexter Fire and Rescue — had lost their home at 613 Spruce St. to a fire July 8. Now the couple, and their three sons, Roberto, 4; Julian, 2; and Giovanni, 1; must start all over again.
Sandra Tarin — also known by her maiden name, Sandra Delgado — said on the day after the fire ripped through her two-bedroom home, that she was shocked by what had happened.
“It’s hard to believe this happened to me — to me and my family,” Delgado said as she stood amid the charred remnants of her bedroom.
A flatscreen television is melted and their walls charred, their windows shattered and ceiling collapsed. What had once been the mattress in their master bedroom is now a box of burned springs. Though the rest of the house was relatively untouched by the flames, smoke engulfed it, ruining everything in it from furniture to clothes and making the house an unhealthy place to stay in.
Justin Powell, fire chief with Dexter Fire & Rescue said the fire is believed to have started in the master bedroom, but the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The day of the fire, Delgado was with two of her sons driving to Roswell to get the oil in her car changed when she received the news that would terrify a homeowner.
“We had been gone for at least, I would say about 10 minutes when I received a phone call from a neighbor saying there was smoke coming out of the house,” Delgado said.
When she reached her house, she saw that fire crews had kicked both the doors of her house open and plumes of smoke were pouring out.
She then turned around and headed back to the house.
At the time, Andy Tarin had been at work at Leprino. He did not have access to his cellphone service and was loading boxes onto a truck, and said a co-employee told him there was an emergency at his house. When Tarin arrived home, he saw his house was on fire and feared the worst.
“And I thought they were inside, so my mind went blank,” he said, recalling the events of the day.
He later learned his wife and three sons were standing outside a neighbor’s house.
The master bedroom and the shared room of the three boys were destroyed, but because Delgado’s father got to the scene and acted to fight the fire quickly, the fire was contained. However, smoke that resulted from the fire has left just about everything in the house, from clothes to furniture, ruined.
For Delgado, the house was much more than walls, a roof and material possessions. She had inherited the house from her grandmother who passed away in 2012. Delgado and her family moved into the house three years ago and put a great deal of work into remodeling it. Her father had grown up in the house.
As bad as it was, it could have been worse for the family. They have fire insurance and the officials with the New Mexico Red Cross came to provide the family with some relief.
However, soon after the fire was extinguished, Powell was thinking about how he could help the family with their immediate needs.
“So it worked out. We just put a crew together and we went. We stopped at Walmart, and on the way in, I talked to the manager there and they made a few phone calls and they gave us $100 to help,” Powell said.
He added that when the shopping was done, he estimates they had about three carts full of items.
The help did not begin and end with the trip to Walmart. Powell said that soon after the fire was under control, people began flocking to the scene with offers of assistance.
“There were people coming in to help or to see what they needed, because word had spread pretty rapidly around here,” Powell said.
Delgado said neighbors, friends and family gave her checks and money, while other people brought them clothes.
Powell said most of the people offering help have come from Dexter or the neighboring community of Hagerman, something that he said is not unusual in a small town like Dexter.
“We kind of take care of each other,” Powell said.
Delgado said she and her family have received phone calls and text messages from friends, and family have been overwhelmed with the show of support. It is also something new for Delgado who describes herself as a “very prideful person” who has always been reluctant to seek help.
“I do not ask for help for anything and I have no words to express all the help,” she said.
Delgado said after the fire, that she and her family were staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Roswell, but Powell said Tuesday that Delgado and her family are now staying in a camper offered to them by some other volunteers with the fire department.
People who want to help with donations can do so by reaching out to Angel’s House, a local nonprofit in Dexter that provides clothing and other items to people in need. Angel’s House can be reached on their Facebook page or at their physical address at 11 Osage Road in Dexter.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.