At left, Dr. Paul Sanner and his wife, Sandra, watch helplessly as their home on Oak Tree Drive in the Dogwood subdivision burns. Mrs. Sanner was inside the home when the fire broke out but escaped unharmed.

Andi Green/Athens Review
Athens Review, Athens, Texas

When Paul and Sandra Sanner moved to their house on Oak Trail Drive in the Dogwood subdivision five years ago, she said she told her husband they had found their dream home.

On Tuesday, both watched helplessly as that home burned to the ground, the likely result of a fire that started in the kitchen.

The fire erupted around 4:30 p.m. Mrs. Sanner, the only person inside when the fire started, escaped without injury. She said her two cats, however, were killed in the fire. The couple’s dogs were outside and were not injured.

“Everything was in there,” she sobbed. “I can’t believe it went up so fast. ... All we have is the clothes on our backs.”

Firefighters from Athens, Shady Oaks, Baxter and Malakoff were called to the fire. Mrs. Sanner said they arrived promptly after receiving the 9-1-1 call, but added that it was already fully engulfed in flames.

She said she was cooking tortillas on the stove when she got sidetracked on the telephone. Moments later, she said she heard the home’s smoke detector sound.

She returned to the kitchen to find the fire.

“It was so black, I couldn’t even see inside.”

Neighbors slowly trickled out of their homes to find out what was going on. One called an insurance company for the Sanners; a teen offered his telephone numbers in case there was something he could do to help.

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