HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Michael Hinz and his son Travis walked through smoldering devastation on the land where they just lost their Texas home of 45 years.
“It’s just total devastation. It’s just torn down to the bare ground,” Hinz said.
Their home is now a pile of ash and rubble that was engulfed by flames in the Oak Grove wildfire on Saturday.
Hinz, 75, is a veteran and has stage four prostate cancer. He said his family got him out of the house just in time.
“My daughter and son-in-law just came out to pick me up, and they noticed smoke, and they said, ‘We got to get out of here, because we don’t know which direction it’s going to go.'”
The family said they didn’t expect the home to be totally lost to the fire.
“Sunday afternoon after church, we came out expecting to see that the fire had moved on away from this area,” Hinz said.
Four-hundred acres of land, including trees and wildlife, are now burned.
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra toured the damage Monday. He was at the fire site on Saturday when the blaze started.
“I was very in the space of the fire … and had jumped around and started engulfing the road I was on,” Becerra said.
Now, he and Jude Prather, the Hays County veteran services officer, are doing what they can to help the Hinz family and others.
“Unfortunately, they didn’t have insurance, so they’re going to have to start from scratch,” Prather said.
Becerra credited those fighting the fire on the frontlines for acting quickly.
“We have no loss of life, and it is because of the very brave men and women out here from throughout the state helping us put this fire out,” Becerra said. “It is literally thanks to them that things didn’t get worse.
Grounded by his faith, Hinz said when the dust settles, he’s ready for what’s next.
“I think it’s time to move on,” he said.
The Hinz family said they recently sold their land and were only living there as their new home was being built. Now, they have a GoFundMe account set up to help them get back on track.