The yellow house which stood for so many years at State Highway 66 and County Road 2642, is no more.

Fire took it completely on Saturday night, March 7.

But the residents, 15-year owners of the home, Brian and Jeannette Mott, are alive, thanks to a wrong turn.

When Gloria Hinojosa and her husband, son and nephew of Balch Springs left Greenville that night headed west on SH 66, they didn’t turn on Co. Rd. 1565 at Caddo Mills as they normally do.

“For some reason that night, they forgot to turn,” said Ms. Mott, from the Holiday Inn where they are staying. “She saw the south side of the house on fire; the garage was about to burn.”

The Hinojosa couple immediately stopped and began pounding on the front window of the Mott home, loud enough that the Motts’ daughter and son-in-law across the street heard it, and sprang into action.

Mr. and Mrs. Mott were in bed; their bedroom is on the south side, the back of the house, where the fire was spotted first.

“We got out. ‘I am not leaving this house until I find my purse,’” Ms. Mott said she was yelling.

“We lost everything in the fire,” she said.

Their little dog Sugar is missing, having jumped out of Mrs. Mott’s arms. “I said a little prayer for her and that’s all I can do.”

Their big dog, Heidi, is safe.

The fire departments fought gallantly, Mrs. Mott said.

“Everybody fought as hard as they could,” she said, noting that neighbors hosed down their own houses because the wind was up so high.

The area, known as the Burrow Community, just inside the Hunt County line outside of Royse City, is in western side of the Caddo Mills Volunteer Fire Department district. Caddo Mills VFD was wrapping up a diesel fire on the Interstate, also in their district, with the help of Union Valley VFD, so Union Valley went ahead to make the initial attack, said Caddo Mills VFD Captain Jai Garcia.

On the way, Caddo contacted the Royse City and Josephine departments, which each brought a tanker and engine.

But there was little to be done to save what was an all-wood house, according Garcia.

“It pretty much ran through the house.”

It was fully engulfed when Caddo Mills arrived about 11 p.m.

“We could see the flames from the interstate,” he said.

The Red Cross came to help the family, dispensing sweatshirts and blankets to Mr. and Mrs. Mott who were in pajamas on the cold, windy night.

They also rehabbed the firemen; Caddo firefighters were responding to their third emergency call in a row of the night.

Caddo Mills brought their grass truck with the trailer to keep air tanks filled up, also.

About 30 to 40 responded to the fire, with Caddo Mills VFD last to leave after finishing about 5 a.m. Garcia said.

The original house structure was well over 100 years old, Mrs. Mott said. “We completed it the way it is (including the yellow paint) in 2002,” she said, complimenting her husband.

“My husband, anything I asked him to do, he would do it, ‘I want a wrap-around front porch’,” was one request, visible to all passersby at the corner.

They began their remodeling in 1995, when they moved in, but a few sections were not yet done. “We’ll do it next weekend,” they always planned.

On their property also is a “little rent house” which was saved. The renter had just moved in that night.

Mr. Mott is taking two weeks vacation from his job with Yellow Freight, now known as YRC.

They are getting identification, “Try to get anything done without a picture ID,” Mrs. Mott said. They were able to get cell phones (hers was charging and not in her purse) and are working with their local insurance company in Royse City. Everyone has been wonderful, Mrs. Mott said.

The band which played at The Well Saturday night donated all their tips, and “they don’t even know us,” Mrs. Mott said. Area citizens and employees of local businesses are helping out too.

“We’re just taking it one day at a time,” Mrs. Mott said. “I have had a couple of days and nights where I drop to my knees. When God closes a window, he opens a door.”

“It was a little house, but I loved it dearly,” she said. They collect antiques and yard art, and have been back home salvaging what they can of the yard art. “I’ll just get a suburban, I’ll go shopping,” she said with a laugh.

Also, “Fire safes do work,” she said.

“Him and I, we’re tough, and we can do it,” she said of whatever they decide to do next.

She believes their lives were saved thanks to the wrong turn.

“God sent you down that road,” she had told Hinojosa.

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