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Patricia McQueen Herbert looks around at the damage at what used to be her Gonzales home. Her family home was gutted by fire last Monday, leaving her family of nine homeless.

PETER CHRISTOPHER

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A Gonzales family of nine is now trying to piece back their lives after fire completely gutted their family home last week Monday.

The tragedy broke back painful memories for Patricia McQueen Herbert, who experienced losing her home to fire 17 years earlier.

“It hard to loss everything and this is a the second time around yuh understand,” she said at the gutted home yesterday.

In the back stood two melted water tanks, the frazzled remains of a washing machine and half burnt Christmas tree and the grim remnants of what once housed a family of nine.

A tearful McQueen recounted the phone call she received at midday last Monday stating that smoke was seen rising from near her home.

Fearful for her husband and her mother in law, who are both unable to walk she called around furiously.

Her grandchildren, who were at home doing online classes at the time, were able to get ahold of their uncle.

“My son came he get his father out, and those kids and them they run out of the house. My grandson here was trying to go back to see if he could have come back to save anything but I just grateful that they have life and they here today,” a tearful McQueen Herbert said.

The rest of the home was razed in less than five minutes after her relatives got to safety.

Officers from Wrightson Road Headquarters responded to the fire within 30 minutes but the two storey, four bedroom home was destroyed in spite of their efforts.

While trying to look at the glass half-full, she broke down and she recalled the trials the family underwent before when their home was burnt to the ground following an arson attack in 2004.

Once again they are starting from scratch as the family has had to depend on the aid of good samaritans for shelter at this time.

“Some so, some so the family split up but everything go work out,’ she said, but she admitted she was less than comfortable with the family being split at this time.

She is pleading for whatever assistance can be sent her way for the family, with a relative based in New York even starting a gofundme to raise funds as the family tries to regain their feet.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but the estimated cost of damage has been placed at $500,000.