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Neighbors assist fire victim; more help needed

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The Dean home of Lee McCloud burned early Friday morning. McCloud lost everything in the fire, including three dogs. (courtesy)

By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

Dean area residents have come together to help a neighbor in need after an early morning blaze destroyed his home Friday.

Lee McCloud, 54, has at home when the fire broke out. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office received the first report of the blaze at 4:10 a.m.

The fire is believed to have started in a laundry room and may have been caused by electrical heating tape wrapped around water lines to prevent them from freezing, said Sheriff Kenny Lemons.

Fire fighters from Dean and Jolly arrived at 6789 St. Hwy. 79 N., to find the side of the house where the laundry room was located fully engulfed.

The house, valued at between $50,000 and $60,000, is a total loss. The house was not insured.

According to Sarah Cassaday, a family friend, McCloud got out of the house with only the clothes on his back. About four hours after posting a request for clothing on Facebook, Cassaday said several people in the community returned from Wichita Falls with new clothes for McCloud.

Kellie Slack, McCloud’s daughter-in-law, said a benefit account has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank in Henrietta, where she is an employee. She and husband Patrick Herring have a rent house for McCloud to move into, but he will need kitchen items, furniture and other household articles.

For now, the Red Cross has provided McCloud with a hotel room for two nights, and a prepaid debit card with which to purchase toiletries and other items.

After McCloud escaped the fire, he re-entered the house in an attempt to save his pets, but was unsuccessful, according to reports. McCloud lost two Chihuahuas and a chocolate Labrador.

“He lost three dogs in the fire, that is his biggest thing right now,” said Slack. “Everything else can be replaced.”

Those wanting to offer assistance to McCloud can contact Kellie Slack at (940) 782-0619, or Patrick Herring at (940) 923-6801.

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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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