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Fire takes home but not family's spirit
by Christina Rowland
Mar 28, 2013 | 1615 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christina Rowland photo
Elena and Lupe Rocha stand in frot of the charred remains of what they once called their home. The trailer was lost on a tragic fire that happened on March 16. There is an account open at First National Bank for those wanting to make donations to the couple.
Christina Rowland photo Elena and Lupe Rocha stand in frot of the charred remains of what they once called their home. The trailer was lost on a tragic fire that happened on March 16. There is an account open at First National Bank for those wanting to make donations to the couple.
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Christina Rowland photo
A pile of unregonizable mess is all that is left of Lupe and Elena Rocha trailer home after it burned to the ground on March 16.
Christina Rowland photo A pile of unregonizable mess is all that is left of Lupe and Elena Rocha trailer home after it burned to the ground on March 16.
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One wouldn’t know it by talking to them, but Lupe and Elena Rocha lost everything they owned in a fire on March 16. The couple are taking the bad luck with a grain of salt and looking up and moving forward.

“Right now, it is just day by day,” Jeff Standlee, a family member, said.

The Rochas have been surrounded by family since the fire ripped through their trailer in a rural part of the county.

“The family has been coming out every day to help,” Mary Ann Standlee, another family member said. The Rochas live on a piece of property fondly nicked name Rochaville on County Road 228. It is a stretch of 140 acres that has been in the family for more than 50 years. It is one of the only places Lupe has ever lived. The property was subdivided by the original owner so that each child received 14 acres. Lupe and Elena were living in a trailer home on their portion of the property.

Lupe said he and his wife had left that Saturday afternoon only about half an hour before the fire started. The fire took place at approximately 2:30 p.m. When Lupe got to CR 3049, he could see the dark smoke and turned around to head home, but by the time he got back to the trailer, it was engulfed in flames.

“The trailer was gone within minutes,” Jeff explained.

There was a strong wind the day of the fire that encouraged the quick burning of the structure and also some nearby trees.

The Three Rivers Fire Department responded quickly, but it wasn’t fast enough. Nothing was salvageable from the fire.

The fire department stayed on site until dusk to make sure the fire did not reignite, and then another family member who owned a water truck stayed watching the charred remains for 12 hours.

“It was 12 hours before we could go to sleep and say it was out,” Mary Ann said.

The day after the fire, it was time to get serious.

“We are focused right now on the important stuff,” Mary Ann said.

The first thing was replacing the Rochas’ medications, calling the insurance company and finding some place to live.

The Rochas didn’t have to go far to find a roof to put over their heads. With many family members living close by, they were able to move into a daughter’s home for now.

The insurance company came out on Thursday to access the damage, and now it is a waiting game to see what they will say.

The Rochas have gotten quotes on the cleanup and hope to have that underway soon.

When asked what prized possession she lost that is irreplaceable, she tears up and turns her head away saying, “My dog, it was a little Shih Tzu.”

While the elderly couple was left with only the clothes on their back, Elena talks with ease about moving forward.

“Everybody has been really good to us,” she said. “We are pretty much OK, but anything is appreciated.”

Family and friends have been dropping off clothes, food and the necessities needed for them to keep moving forward.

An account has been set up at First National Bank in the name of Lupe and Elena Rocha for anyone wanting to contribute to the family.

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