Two Calallen Homes Destroyed in Early Morning Fire

Two homes in Calallen were destroyed in a fire that injured two residents Monday morning.

That blaze could have been even worse, if not for some alert neighbors who were roused from bed by working smoke detectors.

Fire investigators said those fire and smoke detectors were working as they should. That was what woke the family where the fire started; but for the folks next door where the fire spread to, it was the blaze itself that sent them running for safety.

The fire started at around 6 a.m. Monday at a home on Northwest Trail. It then spread quickly to the second home next door, belonging to Kerry Williams and her family.

"About 5:30, I started hearing a popping sound," Williams said. "I thought it was clothes in the dryer, and then it got louder. I went to the kitchen and saw flames in the window of my kitchen. Got my grandkids and my daughter and went outside, and here we are."

Ken and Karen Starrs, the owners of the home where the blaze started were not as fortunate. They were able to get out, but Karen went back inside, something fire investigators said was a big mistake.

"99-percent of the time, if you go back in, you won't make it back out," said Captain James Brown of the Corpus Christi Fire Department. "That's known fact. So we'd hope, unfortunately a bad incident, but maybe it can be a learning occasion also. Don't go back in. Once you made it outside, stay out."

Karen Starrs sustained severe burns and was transported to Spohn Memorial Hospital, but has since been transferred to a burn unit in San Antonio. Ken Starrs was also taken to Spohn Memorial to be checked out.

One of the first to arrive on scene after firefighters was Ron Ordner, a family friend of the Starrs for more than 40 years.

"10 months ago, I went through the same thing," Ordner said. "This right here is really devastating because, like I said myself, my buddy Rocky helped Ken remodel this house. We got it perfect. And we used to have lots of gatherings on the deck. So it's kind of hard for us to look at."

Because of downed power lines, firefighters said they were delayed for just a bit; but once they got closer to the property, the fire took about an hour and a half to control. Both homes were total losses.

Investigators believe it was an electrical fire.


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