Blaze destroys Fashion Plantation home

Family fled burning house, lost family pet

Trina Brignac was asleep in bed alongside her young granddaughter Saturday night when she awoke to a terrifying revelation.

“My son ran into my room telling us ‘Get up, get out, the house is on fire!’” Brignac recalled. “It’s a memory I’ll never forget.”

Brignac took her granddaughter and broke for the front door of their Hahnville residence, just as her daughter, her son and his girlfriend did, as fire ravaged the house she and her family had called home since 2005. All five escaped without injury, but the house and everything in it was quickly destroyed.

“I feel like I just want somebody to pinch me and tell me this is all a dream,” Brignac said. “You see it happen on TV and you pray for those people and think, ‘Oh God, what are they going through right now.’ You don’t think about it ever happening to you.”

Hahnville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Matthew Allshouse said the fire apparently started in the garage area of the General Taylor Drive home, which was located in the Fashion Plantation Estates subdivision. He said the cause of the fire is undetermined so far.

The General Taylor Drive house before it caught fire on Saturday.

Trina’s daughter, Trejon, said she heard three loud booms that woke her up at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday morning. She and her brother both got up to see what was going on, but nothing was apparent at first.

“I went to lay down again, but then I kept hearing the noise,” Trejon said. “This time, my brother had already gone to look at the garage to see if somebody had maybe broken in through the door. When he opened the door, he saw the flames.”

She said he tried to grab the family’s fire extinguisher, but the fire had already grown too large. The priority became survival.

“Inside where we were, there was no smoke,” Trejon said. “But then you realize the house is on fire and you don’t know how long you have. However you look, whatever you’ve got, you get out. You can’t afford 10 more seconds. You can’t prepare.”

In the moment, Trina could only think to protect her granddaughter.

“I was holding her in front of me. You see it on TV, (the fire) throws you,” she said. “I was just hoping if it happens, it hits me and I can protect her little body. I ran to that stop sign (at the end of the block) and looked back … I just could not believe my home was on fire. Watching somewhere you lived for so long just burning down.

“You don’t think about getting this or that. You hear fire and you just run to the street and pray you can get out. And once you turn around and you see this, you wonder, ‘Oh my God, how did we get out of here?’”

The loss of their home was clear.

“(The fire) spread across the top of the house so fast,” Trejon said. “Thankfully, our rooms weren’t on (the garage) side. But it didn’t take much time at all.”

Besides the loss of all material possessions in the home, Trejon’s pet dog was killed when she ran back inside the residence.

“We ran outside, but she’s scared of loud noises … so when she heard this loud noise, things were falling and glass was breaking, she ran to her cage in my mama’s room,” Trejon said, tearing up.

That said, both mother and daughter were able to maintain perspective. While much was lost, their lives were not.

“It’s devastating, but sometimes things like this happen and everyone doesn’t get out,” Trejon said, adding friends, family, neighbors and co-workers have offered their help. Trejon’s co-workers have started a GoFundMe to help the family with their rebuilding efforts, while Red Cross and United Way have also lent aid. The family is accepting donations, monetary or otherwise, in order to start over.

Trina said the outpouring of support from neighbors has made everything a little bit easier.

“I feel like I moved into a neighborhood and, since this happened, these people are my family,” she said of the community in the Fashion subdivision. “People offer hugs, support, money, even asking how long we’ll be at the hotel and offering to let us stay with them. There’s just this outpouring of thoughtfulness, support and giving.”

That’s a big reason why she’s planning to rebuild where she is.

“I’d rather get everything done and have us come right back and still be here,” she said. “I love it here.”


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