Bullard Vet Builds Dream Home, Then Tragedy Strikes
Robert Quates, a disabled veteran living in Bullard bought his dream home just five months ago. This month, his fireplace exploded.
Quates and his wife worked hard to save for and purchase the home this summer. The fireplace was one of the things they looked forward to experiencing when the weather cooled enough. They moved in with their four-year-old daughter and started enjoying the home they had looked forward to for so long.
The fireplace was brand new and appeared to have never been used before. Its remote and decorative rocks were still in the original packaging. Still, they were cautious. They checked everything with soapy water to see if there were leaks before they ignited the gas logs. Then the cozy afternoon they expected turned into a nightmare.
Ten minutes after they lit the fireplace, they noticed the smell of propane. Immediately afterward the fireplace exploded. It shot a fireball out of the wall where the propane fed into the unit. Then the fire sucked back into the wall where brick concealed a gas leak.
The family rushed to call 9-1-1, then moved family members and pets out of the smoke. Spray foam in the attic ignited, so smoke poured through the home. The fire department doused the flames and tore out the fireplace to make sure the blaze was completely extinguished and there was no ongoing leak.
Quates is 100 percent disabled. He's thankful his family is safe but worried about how they will pay their $8,000 insurance deductible. Currently, they're doing without propane, so they can't power their hot water heater or stove. At a time when most East Texans are thinking about Christmas shopping and holiday parties, this disabled veteran focuses on raising a four-year-old without the ability to cook or take hot baths.
If you'd like to help this family, information is available on their GoFundMe page.