The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

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March 31, 2014

Mother severely burned while looking for children

2 Limestone families in need of clothing, other necessities

— The family of Dominga Lorenza believes the 45-year-old mother was searching for her children when she severely burned her hands, feet and head in a fire Friday that destroyed one home and left another inhabitable just west of Athens.

Dominga was in critical condition Monday afternoon at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital burn ward, a spokeswoman said.

On Monday morning, standing near the charred rubble of the family home, Dominga’s husband Caesar Gonzalez said all he needs is for Athens and Limestone County residents to pray for his wife.

While his wife is at UAB, he is paying a friend to drive him back and forth to Birmingham to visit her. He can’t stop thinking about the fire and what he could have done to prevent it.

Possible cause

Gonzalez was at work Friday morning when their two children, Caesar, 6, and Lilianna, 5, are believed to have started a fire in the home while their mother was in the bath, said family friend Vanessa Soto. She said she did not believe the children started a fire because they were cold as some reports have indicated. She said Dominga may have been looking for her children inside the burning home before she finally exited, thus severely burning herself.

Little Caesar had run to the Florencia Landa home, located directly behind the Gonzalez home, to alert them to the fire. The Landa family, including the mother, Maria, 45, and their children, Junior, 13, Alma, 12, and Esa, 3, escaped from their home unharmed.

The fire destroyed the Gonzalez’s home, car and children’s toys.

Heat, smoke and water also damaged the Landa home and its contents, melted the front of their van.

So hot was the fire, it also melted all of the siding on one end of another neighbor’s home.

Although both families asked only for prayers, they could use clothing and other items

If you would like to help the families in these difficult days ahead, they are in dire need of clothing, mattresses, blankets, pillows, toiletries like shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, coloring books, crayons and toys.

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