A local family was displaced after a fire on Jan. 28 damaged their rental home in the 500 block of Fort Clark Road. The mother is seeking two women she calls guardian angels after they helped her children, who ran out of the home as it was burning.
Dayna Hill, 32, of Uvalde, is the mother of five children ages 16, 15, 13, 8 and 3.
She has a an 11-year-old stepson with her partner, Andrew Lopez. Her stepson does not live with them, she said, but he visits.
Lopez was driving one of the children to a family sleepover when the fire began, causing structural and smoke damage.
Four of the children, including her stepson, and the 15, 13, and 3-year-old, were home when the fire broke out. They ran outside to safety, then flagged down women driving by, who called 911.
“My oldest daughter was just frantic about the situation,” Hill said. “But I was so proud of them, they acted quickly and they all got out. They were just really smart about it.”
An online fundraiser has been started to help the family.
Hill was at work, serving a large party at Broadway 830, a pizza restaurant in downtown Uvalde, when a woman approached her and asked her name. She said she was in disbelief when the woman told her she needed to come with her right away, that her house was on fire, and her children had flagged the woman and her companion down.
“This lady approached me and she just taps me on the should, asking, ‘Are you Dayna?’”
Hill said she turned around to see a “sweet little lady” and told her yes.
“Mija, you need to come with me. Your house is on fire and your kids are there,” she said the woman told her.
“Are you sure it’s me?” Hill remembers asking the woman.
She dropped everything and went with the woman and her companion.
“The whole way, I was blank. I thought, there is no way, no, it can’t be,” Hill said.
The woman told Hill she and her companion were driving by, saw the smoke and the flames, then the frightened children, and they stopped to help.
Hill said the women said goodbye when they left, but she was very shaken up and failed to get their information.
“I don’t know who these two ladies are. I wish I knew their names and where they are so I could thank them,” Hill said.
The Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched at 8:44 p.m., bringing two trucks and about 22 firefighters.
After extinguishing a fire on a rear wall of the home against a lean-to porch area, firefighters made entry to the back of the home, where fire had spread to the hallway and up to the attic through an access hatch.
Firefighters said the cause of the fire is unknown, and fire marshal Tati Hernandez said Jan. 31 he had not been to the scene.
Hill is immensely thankful that many of their items such as clothing were salvageable. She said the family’s belongings are largely covered in soot, and some furniture and clothing were discolored from the heat. She also said she had friends bring her clothing for her baby, and her older son, as their areas suffered the most damage.
“We are all okay, and to me that’s all that matters,” Hill said.
Hill said her family is staying with her grandfather, but they are facing numerous expenses in starting over.
A GoFundMe account had raised $1,200 from 16 donors as of Feb. 1, from a stated goal of $10,000.
To donate to the fundraiser, visit tinyurl.com/2p9fmkbh.