Fire destroys home of family facing cancer battle

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The family’s patriarch built the home 53 years ago. Now, “everything is gone.”

LAFAYETTE, Colo. — A house fire in Lafayette has left a family with nothing, adding to a year already fraught with hardship.

The fire consumed the family’s home on Flatiron Drive early Saturday morning. Robert Rodriguez, his wife Kathy Rodriguez and Robert’s father Felix Rodriguez narrowly escaped.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

For Kathy, who was already enduring a battle with pancreatic cancer diagnosed just four months prior, the night of the fire was a harrowing ordeal. She had been sleeping on a recliner in the living room for the past few days as she recovered from a surgery aimed at treating the cancer.

“I suddenly heard my husband say ‘Fire! Fire!,’ and I just jumped out of the recliner. I don’t even know how I did, because it’s even hard to get out of bed to move,” Kathy said.

The trauma of the fire led to further complications for Kathy, leading her to return to the hospital due to an internal bleed near the site of her surgery. 

“I was doing really good. The doctors kept telling me I was his poster child for the type of surgery I had…So I don’t think it would have turned on a dime like that. I was fine. I was fine on Friday,” she said.

Robert, awakened by flames engulfing the patio around 1 a.m., described the frantic escape from their longtime family home. He said they had less than 10 minutes to get out of the house, and by the time they drove away, flames were already coming out of the front windows.

“This is my father’s home. Or what’s left of it,” Robert said, looking at the destruction. “I remember growing up here as a little child. I think I was 5 or 6 years old.”

Generations of memories were reduced to ashes in mere minutes, as 53 years of familial history vanished in the blaze. 

“Nothing in the house was salvageable,” Robert said. “Everything is gone.”

In the wake of such loss, neighbors have rallied around the Rodriguez family, who have been integral members of the community for generations. A GoFundMe campaign launched two days ago has already garnered more than $10,000 in support.

Reflecting on the overwhelming challenges they’ve faced, Kathy expressed gratitude for the outpouring of assistance.

“It’s just like, we can’t even catch a break. But all these people that have helped us and brought food to them and everything — that’s the break,” Kathy said with tears in her eyes.

Despite the devastation, the family hopes to rebuild their home.

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Fire destroys home of family facing cancer battle

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