Senior’s house catches fires, burns down

Jack Stenglein

At approximately 4 a.m. Nov. 18, senior Bethany Larrañaga’s garage caught fire. The fire, which was caused by a space heater, quickly spread to the rest of her house, burning it to the ground. Fortunately, Bethany’s mom had woken up early to get ready for work and smelled the smoke from the fire. After discovering the fire, she woke the rest of the family.

“I carried two of my brothers out and then went back for my dog,” Bethany said. “When we were going out, there was just smoke, but once we were outside, we could see the fire. Nobody was injured, other than my grandfather, who got a minor burn on top of his head.”

Currently, while searching for a house to rent, the Larrañaga family is staying with Bethany’s boyfriend and his family, who live about five minutes away from where the Larrañaga’s house was.

“They have a spacious home, and we’re very comfortable and very grateful,” Bethany said. “It’s been good over there, and my younger siblings have especially enjoyed it. It’s a good place for them — my boyfriend’s mom plays games with them and they do arts and crafts.”

Although Bethany was able to grab her backpack and two journals of her writing, most of her possessions were lost in the fire.

“I have been back into the house since the fire,” Bethany said. “Digging through the rubble, you can find something made of metal every once in a while, and some dressers are still intact, but everything else is gone. The thing I miss the most is the necklace that my older brother gave to me for my 12th birthday. It had a lot of meaning for me.”

After hearing of the fire, many in the community were moved and raised money to help the Larrañagas replace some of the items they lost. The yearbook staff raised $400 dollars in Target giftcards and presented it to the family on Nov. 25 so that they would be able to use it on Black Friday.

“I donated money because they had nothing and lost everything,” El Paisano co-editor in chief junior Jesse Olguin said. “I wanted to give them the chance to buy something for themselves, and I knew that a gift card was something small that would help out.”

Despite all that she has lost, Bethany is determined to look past what happened and keep moving forward.

“The first week after the fire, it was difficult to get back into the routine of things, but now I’m back and doing very well,” Bethany said. “This might sound crazy to some people, but I think there was some good out of it. I’ve always felt close to my family, but it’s drawn out their importance. I feel like I’ve lost nothing because my entire family is still here and safe.”