Monday, January 4, 2016

Fire Destroyed Iraq Veteran's Home, Community Restored Hope

Fire destroys South Texas home of Iraq War veteran, opens wounds
San Antonio News Express
By Martin Kuz, Staff Writer
January 4, 2016
“It’s just humbling to know how many people love you. As tough as this experience has been, that compassion and concern makes you feel good.” Sabastian Vasquez
Photo: JERRY LARA, Staff / San Antonio Express-News
The orange flames painting the dusk sky. The acrid stench of black smoke. The sharp crack of gunfire.

Memories of three combat tours in Iraq swirled in Sabastian Vasquez’s mind as he watched his childhood home in Tivoli burn to the ground Dec. 6.

The 33-year-old Marine veteran, along with his parents, brother and sister, were uninjured in a blaze that reduced the house, which had been there for decades, to piles of ash. The family suspects that a candle his mother lit in an upstairs bedroom after a power outage ignited the fire.

But for Vasquez, who struggles with the lingering effects of post-traumatic stress order and a traumatic brain injury from his time in Iraq, the sights, smells and sounds of the night reopened psychological wounds.
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