ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Family, neighbors and friends huddled together in the cold and rain as Hilda Vasquez and her son Robert Martinez watched a nightmare become a reality.
"My friend called me and said that the house was on fire and I didn't believe him so I started coming home and I saw smoke from a distance and it looked from my place,"
Firefighters arrived on scene in the 1600 block of Marion Road Southeast shortly before 12:30 p.m. Friday. Early in the fight the roof collapsed trapping several pets inside. Neighbors looked on as crews were fighting fire and mother nature.
"Trailer fires tend to develop fast and move very quickly," Assistant Fire Marshal Larry Mueller said. "Anytime in this weather firefighting is always a challenge. We have the water problem, the issue of the freezing, maneuvering through the snow."
"I didn't think it was this bad," Vasquez said.
As Hilda stands outside and watches the firefighters do their job it's not the things she's thinking about but the pets inside that she describes as part of the family.
A dog, a cat, a ferret and two rats are unaccounted for.
"My cat. I'm hoping my cat is somewhere out here," Vasquez said. "I'm happy my kids weren't in there. I'm happy with that."
Left with only the clothes on her back she finds comfort in the small gestures of a loving community.
"I don't have family here so when I see neighbors and friends it's kind of nice, Vasquez said.
Seven people live in the home -- two adults and five children. Now the oldest, naturally hearing a calling to grow up a little faster than the others.
"I'm the oldest kid so right now it's my mother and my sisters and I know that me and my mother have to be strong for my sisters so they won't give up so that they won't feel the same way we're feeling at this moment," Martinez said. "We have to be strong."
A strength that will hold them together come fire, rain or both.
No word on what may have caused the fire but it is considered a total loss. The investigation is ongoing. Red Cross also responded on scene.
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