What started as a day full of celebration for the Gaines family, has ended in devastation and heartbreak.
"This is a family home, it's always been a family home," says Crystal Gaines.
It only took minutes from the time a heat lamp caught fire to Gaines' childhood home being completely engulfed in flames. Resulting in the words any homeowner would dread hearing.
"It's a total loss," says Lagarto Fire Chief Daniel Robinson.
Crystal was headed to her daughter's birthday party, when she got the heart-dropping call; her family home, filled with memories and irreplaceable belongings, was on fire.
This loss happening exactly one year after the home in Sandia, was completely paid off and six months after Crystal's mother passed away from stage four cancer.
"My mother's dying wish was to pay this house off and exactly one year ago today, this house was paid off," she says.
The months following Gaines' mother's death took a toll on her father. She says he never renewed their house insurance and it eventually lapsed.
"40 years of true love and after he lost my mom, things just kind of got hard...on top of loosing a home, there's no insurance to help cover for that," Crystal explains.
Although Crystal's father, his friend and their family dog got out unharmed, precious memories in the form of pictures, are gone.
"All the pictures of my mom, I'll never have again," Gaines cries.
Now, Crystal and her family are forced to come together, and enter 2018 with a heartbreaking loss, now figuring out how they will carry on.
There is a GoFundMe for the Gaines family, you can help them out here.
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