House in Houston destroyed hours after Beryl accident

House in Houston destroyed hours after Beryl accident
House in Houston destroyed hours after Beryl accident

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

The fire broke out around 8:30 p.m. on Palisade Drive near Cullen Boulevard, shortly after a responder arrived to repair a neighbor’s sparking power line.

“It was associated with many memories,” said Katherine Newsome, who grew up in the house sixty years ago. “We will miss it.”

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

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

Shortly before the fire broke out, a neighbor two houses down said she was having problems with her power lines and a power worker had just left.

The neighbor, who did not want to give her name, posted a video taken with her cellphone of sparks in a power line in her backyard about an hour before the fire.

The day before, right after Hurricane Beryl, she said she had reported a tree in her power lines and a possible downed power line to CenterPoint Energy.

When power was restored Tuesday afternoon, the voltage in her home was so high she had to wear rubber gloves to avoid being shocked. The cable was still down and sparking, she said.

She then called CenterPoint back and said a crew came and eventually cut part of a cable connecting her house to the power pole.

“Right after they left their house, ours went up in flames,” Brightmon said. “I don’t think that was a coincidence.”

CenterPoint Energy told KPRC 2 that the case is under investigation and that they will contact the customer for further information.

“I just can’t stand it when a power line is live,” said Houston City Councilwoman Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, who represents the district.

She was told that a live wire may have contributed to the fire, but faulty wiring could not be ruled out.

“After that, there needs to be a concerted effort by CenterPoint to actually take care of those lines,” she said.

The neighbor with the sparking line said that although there was power on her street, her house lost power after the line was cut, so she has found somewhere else to live for now. She is still trying to figure out how to pay for and make the necessary repairs.

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

Newsome’s family is uninsured and is now looking for a new home.

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

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