CROSS PLAINS, Texas - On December 27, 2005 in the small town of Cross Plains a brush fire west of town started by a lit cigarette turned a usually quiet evening into chaos. The fire burned thousands of acres, destroyed 116 homes and killed two people.
Vickie Walker was in Abilene when the fire began, but by the time she got back to Cross Plains it was heading towards her house.
"We could see fire we were just under the assumption that it was our house burning," Walker said.
Walker thought it might not be as bad as it looked, but the next day she drove to the home she had lived in for 35 years to find out it was worse.
"They had already gotten a friend to start cleaning up because they didn't want me to see it and there is just nothing there," said Walker.
Walker and her husband lost almost everything.
"Pictures of your kids when they were little you know that's the hardest thing," she said.
A close friend of Walker's died in the fire, one of two deaths.
"You can get by losing things but when you lose a person or two persons and that makes it really hard and I think that was the hardest blow to us," Walker said.
She said as time moved forward, dealing with the loss got a little easier.
"It's your home and you built around everything that you and your family have done and it's just really hard to think about it being gone," said Walker.
Members of the North Side Baptist Church in Weatherford built the Walkers a new home in Cross Plains.
"It is home, it is home and it is wonderful and we've had a lot of good memories built now here so you know you just move on from one thing to another," said Walker.
Walker said she still gets nervous every time she hears the fire whistle. Since 2005 her friends and family have found copies of pictures lost in the flames and given them to her as Christmas presents.
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