One family’s home saved by inches; another consumed in fire

Brian Victor, who lives off Highway 467 just before the Roosevelt County line, said the fire came within inches of his home.

Victor said he and most of his family were in Clovis around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, preparing to go to the movies when he received a phone call telling him his home area was being evacuated. He said his son, Taylor, 18, was at home alone sleeping after having worked all night.

“What I did was started heading this way and called my son,” Victor said. “I told him to get out of the house. He ran upstairs and said there was already smoke and flames everywhere.”

Taylor thought the house was already on fire, because it was filled with smoke.

“I was scared,” Taylor said. “As soon as I opened the garage, I saw our whole pasture was on fire.”

Brian Victor said as he neared the Roosevelt County line on Highway 467, the road was blocked by police officers and they would not let him through to his home due to safety issues. He said firefighters could not reach his home due to the flames.

“That’s where I was panicking,” Victor said. “They couldn’t get to (Taylor) either.”

Taylor said he jumped in his car with the family dogs and headed down the highway. He said he could not see anything in front of him for the first three to four miles he was driving.

“There was nothing but black smoke. I was terrified,” Taylor said. “When I cleared the smoke and saw police and my dad waiting for me, I got so happy.”

Brian Victor said he felt relieved to find his son was safe and knows it is a miracle their home survived.

“It was by the grace of God,” he said. “There were five other structures right next to us that burned to the ground.”

One of those structures was the home of Steve and Alisha Robertson, who live on the same land as Victor and work for him.

Victor said the couple had spent three years building and adding to their home, and had no insurance.

Alisha Robertson said she and her husband were just arriving home when they saw all of the smoke around their property. She said her husband began to try to put out the fire.

“Within three minutes after we saw smoke, the flames were burning our land,” Robertson said. “It came so fast. It was scary.”

Robertson said the police sent her family away from their house towards Clovis and began to fight the fire themselves. She said she hoped the firefighters could save her home, but found out later the house was gone.

“It was so hard to lose everything, especially after we had worked so hard on it,” she said. “It was all gone and I felt hopeless, like it was all over.”

She said her family has been very blessed with how much help and kindness they have received from local communities. A trailer home has been donated to the family and food, supply and clothing donations are being taken at SOS Outlet in Portales.

— Compiled by Freedom New Mexico writer Alisa Boswell