Norco family loses home in fire days before Destrehan senior’s graduation 

Agurcia home following fire.

Leonie Agurcia awoke to a noise heard outside, shortly after midnight, and what she saw moments later was terrifying. 

“We woke up to something hitting my window,” she recalled. “I lifted my head and thought it must be hail. I looked out the window and saw fire.”

Agurcia’s home caught fire on that May 14 night and she sprung into action as her family was in danger. 

“I ran back to the bedroom and that’s when we realized it was our house,” she said. “I went to wake the kids up and get them out of the house … we ran outside, across the street and called 911.”

She acknowledges they were lucky to escape without injury or worse. Nonetheless, much was lost that night for the Norco family as their Goodhope Street home burned, as well as Agurcia’s Tahoe.

“It was very devastating to watch. While standing out there waiting for the fire department, a million thoughts and emotions were running through my head,” she said. 

The family lost everything in the fire. Compounding the difficulty of the situation was that it came days before Agurcia’s daughter Makayla’s graduation from Destrehan High School. They would go on to purchase a new dress for her – the original was lost in the fire – but the fire took some of the focus off of that monumental milestone for the Wildcats’ grad. 

“I wasn’t just sad and upset about the fire, but it was graduation week for my daughter. It’s been rough and emotional,” Agurcia said. 

Makayla said graduation was a bit of a blur. 

“Walking across the stage knowing I had nothing to go home to was kind of hard,” she said.

She added, however, the support she received was greater than she could have imagined, both for graduation and to help her family getting back on their feet.

“All of my graduation stuff was gone. I had graduation in four days, and I didn’t know what to do. Somebody did my hair, my makeup for it … so many people offered me different outfits, dresses,” Makayla said. “(To everyone who offered support) thank you for being there, for making sure we had everything we need to even live, it’s amazing … the support we have that we didn’t even know we had is amazing.”

Agurcia said it’s unclear what started the fire. That Monday night, an onset of severe weather hit the area and shortly after that cleared, the fire started. Agurcia said when she looked out the window, everything was bright orange.

Makayla said it was likewise scary for her. 

“That was my mom and dad’s room … if they wouldn’t have made it, I don’t know how I’d have got through,” Makayla said. “It came quick and it scared all of us. I just feel lucky we made it out.”

As difficult as it’s been, Agurcia said the support from others has been unreal and has provided a lift for the family. 

With the support of family, friends, and the community we were blessed with a lot of clothes, shoes, some kitchen items, and monetary donations,” Agurcia said, adding she and her family have immense gratitude for the outpouring. 


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