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Updated: Wednesday, 05 Sep 2012, 5:29 PM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 05 Sep 2012, 2:58 PM CDT
The Leander fires of last year devastated many families. Many of them chose to move away and leave their empty lots behind.
Now Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County has decided to step in and bring a little bit of life back to the burned-out neighborhood.
It's been nearly a year since the "Moonglow" fire burned down more than a dozen homes spread out over 300 acres off Moonglow Drive. Now all that's left are charred woods and fields.
"I never seen anything burn so fast," said Donald Brown, who lost his home to the fire. He said he decided to stay and rebuild. "Well, I really like it over here, nice place, people are nice."
His quiet little neighborhood -- now scarred by the sight of lonely slabs and empty lots -- could soon see new life, including new neighbors for Brown.
Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County has purchased three lots where homes once sat. Staff said rebuilding the area is an important step to rebuilding the neighborhood.
"It's a tragedy that families lost their homes from these lots," said Debbie Hoffman, of the Williamson County Habitat for Humanity. "The fires were devastating last summer but we were able to talk to two of the families that we bought these lots from, and they're very, very excited that something good is going to happen."
Hoffman said this is the first time her organization has branched out to Leander, so the idea of building three new homes in this particular neighborhood has extra meaning. But they need money and good people to break ground.
"Most of our homes cost us between $48,000 and about $65,000 to build," said Hoffman. "And of course we need volunteer groups to come out and work whether it's one day or more than one day. We work two days a week and can build a home in about 10 weeks."
Hoffman said the homes will be build to fit the neighborhood standards. She hopes to start new construction on the first home by June.
Sadly, police said there are still no arrests in connection to these fires. It's been one year since fire officials determined the blazes were a result of arson. Police suspected four teens were involved.
One of the female suspects was described as being about 15- to 16 years old, who was wearing a pink shirt and blue jeans. She had black hair that might have been dyed. A second girl, also about 15- to 16, was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. Her hair was described as dirty blonde.
Two teen-age boys with dark, shaggy hair and wearing blue jeans were also considered suspects. One was wearing a red shirt; the other wore a green with a black striped shirt.
The fire burned between U.S. Highway 183 and Bagdad Road. Called the "Moonglow Fire," the blaze near the Magnolia Creek subdivision just off of Crystal Falls Parkway left people praying for the best. Streets affected were Moonglow, Sorrel, Winecup and Verbena.
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