CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) – Rob Solis almost lost his home to the Parmer Lane fire Tuesday.
That night, he said his fiancee called, telling him that their front lawn was on fire and embers were falling from the sky onto their roof.
“I rushed home,” Solis said. “I immediately grabbed water hoses and started putting out fires wherever I could,” he continued.
Luckily, his home survived, but it got him thinking about those whose homes did not.
When he saw the flames, “you immediately go to the worst-case scenario – ‘I’m gonna lose everything that I have.’ And unfortunately, there were people in this scenario that did over at the Bexley [at Silverado] apartments,” he said.
Solis started thinking of ways he could help those people. He fronts a band, Solis and The Unwritten, and he decided to turn a performance he had planned Wednesday night into a fundraiser.
The fundraiser yielded nearly $1,000, and he went searching for families affected by the natural disaster. He found Faith Durbin’s phone number on a flyer for two missing cats.
‘It’s been absolutely heartwarming.’
Faith Durbin said she was unwinding after work with her fiancee and two cats Tuesday evening when they heard a raucous in the hall.
“I start hearing shouting in the hallways. They’re shouting, ‘Police! Get out! There’s a fire,’” Durbin recalled.
“The first thing that runs through my mind is, ‘Get my fiancee, get the cat and get out,” she continued.
But when the police officers banged on Durbin’s door, the cats got scared and hid. Nevertheless, they had to evacuate.
“I left my car, we left behind our cats,” Durbin said. “I think, between the two of us, we had one phone, one wallet, and one set of keys. And everything else was left in the building,” she continued. “It’s a total loss.”
Even though the loss of her apartment has not been easy, Durbin said the generosity of the community has “been absolutely heartwarming, despite everything.”
Durbin has been working with Ferallife Guards – an organization that provides resources to stray cats but also helps those whose cats have gone missing in the fire. Though they weren’t able to bring the cats with them, Durbin holds out hope they will find them. She said a firefighter told her they frequently pull living cats out from burnt structures.
On Thursday, Durbin, Ferallife Guards, and Solis went out looking for the lost cats, and Solis gave some of the money he earned to Durbin.
“He was so kind,” Durbin said. “It’s a little bit wild, because I’m a very proud person, and I’m typically the one who’s like, ‘Oh, let me cover that for you,’” she said.
“To all of a sudden be in a position where everything that I’ve had kind of stripped away and all we see is this absolute outpouring of love, information and support… I think it’s kind of what’s helped hold me together,” Durbin said.