Local woman sustains burns in house fire near Saltillo

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Feb. 14, 2008 - A Hopkins County woman sustained burns to her lower extremities in a blaze which destroyed 80 percent her home Wednesday afternoon.

Laura "Lori" Torostieta remained in Parkland Hospital Thursday morning.

She was at home with one of her young children when the fire occurred. The child was not injured.

Shortly after noon Wednesday, Torostieta called her husband, Juan Nunez, who was working t the Chad Neal dairy, and told him she'd burned herself.

As Nunez and Neal headed for the FM 900 south house to check on her, they noticed heavy black smoke pouring out of the window and door of the small, single-story wood frame house.

Neal called 911 to report the fire, and Saltillo, Hopkins County and Pickton-Pine Forest firefighters responded at 12:20 p.m. at the house on the Neal dairy for dairy hands and their family.

Saltillo firefighters reported the house was consumed with flames, which threatened to spread to hay bales and a metal structure close to the house.

Firefighters requested that Hopkins County Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services hasten their response, as Torostieta feet had been burned and would require medical assistance. She was treated by first responders until the ambulance crew arrived, then transported by ambulance to HCMH. She was transferred a short while later to Parkland Hospital.

Firefighters made an interior attack, extinguishing the blaze. The fire burned about 80 percent of the house.

Hopkins County Salvation Army is assisting Laura and Juan's children, 11-year-old Isabel, 3-year-old Briana and 1-year-old Daisy, with their immediate needs. HCSA Chairwoman Jo Marie Neal was slated later today to return to Saltillo to talk to the family to better ascertain their needs. She was unable to speak with Juan or Laura Wednesday, as Juan had traveled to Parkland to be with his wife.

The dairy owner indicated to firefighters that there is another house on his property where the family will be able to live.

Firefighters had yet to talk to the injured woman to help determine the point and cause of the fire.

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