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Lubbock family starting over after apartment fire takes pets, belongings

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Several families are in the process of starting over after a fire broke out at the Branchwater Apartments Friday. A spokesman with Lubbock Fire Rescue confirmed 10 units in the building sustained 65 percent damage and 11 people were displaced and assisted by the Red Cross. LFR reports the damage is so extensive, the Fire Marshal’s Office can’t determine what sparked it. Investigators are able to rule out criminal activity. According to LFR, property management is working with insurance right now to figure out what’s going to happen to the building. In the meantime, families are just trying to take their next step.

Bronson Ellis was at work putting up Christmas lights when he got the call.

“I finally got down and got to my phone and I had like eight or 10 missed calls from her. And I answer the phone and she’s screaming at me, ‘The apartment’s on fire. The dogs are dead. The apartment’s on fire. The dogs are dead,’ I was like, it took me a second. I was like, uh are you joking?” he said.

His wife, Ashley McCrum, was also at work when she heard about the fire. When she got to the apartments, she ran past firefighters and opened her apartment door to a wall of smoke.

“I knew at that moment it was too late. One of my cats was right by the front door but, I was screaming for my dogs even though I knew it was too late. And a firefighter and a police officer had to escort me away. so it was just a shock,” McCrum said.

The couple lost their two dogs, Roxy and Ladybug, and their cat Lucifer. Ashley’s sister’s cat, Meredith Grey, who they were cat-sitting while she’s in college, was also lost to the fire. Along with their fur babies, the two lost their first apartment together full of memories.

“From the initial move in, to moving our ridiculously heavy dresser set up those tiny stairs,” McCrum said.

“Just me and her, you should’ve seen it,” Ellis said.

The two are staying with Ellis’ mom for the time being. He went back to the apartment Sunday, to salvage what he could.

“But I mean, what can you do except one step forward? That’s all you can do,” Ellis said.

McCrum and Ellis are asking for prayers and any donations you can give. They’re hoping people can find a way to help the other families who were affected.

“There were families with children. There was one girl, she’s pregnant. I mean, it’s just a whole lot of people that need help. We’re not alone. Definitely, we’re not alone,” McCrum said.

There’s a GoFundMe set up to help them get back on their feet. You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-ashley-and-bronson-rebuild. Their church, The Worship Center is also providing a way to donate. Lubbock Discount Mattress is also offering a 25 percent discount off any mattress and free delivery to anyone affected by the fire.

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