After lightning strike burns home, Leander mom thankful for community's help

"Initially I thought it was a joke. They said lightning had struck my house and I thought they were kidding because it just didn't seem like a real thing," said Jaime Telfeyan who lost her home after a Monday afternoon fire in Leander.

The storm that rolled into Central Texas Monday afternoon took a toll on Leander homes. 

Leander Fire Chief Bill Gardner says surrounding fire departments came together to help respond to eight calls, all believed to be lightning-related.

Five of them ended up being structure fires, like Telfeyan's house on Lookout Range Drive.

No humans were home at the time but her two cats were there. "The worst part was driving there because I could see the smoke from a pretty good distance so I knew that that was coming from my house," Telfeyan said.

"We put up our ladder and started a defensive fire attack and that's when the homeowners said there was kittens inside," said Leander Fire Dept. Lt. Tony Anguiano.

Anguiano told FOX 7 on Tuesday, a firefighter from another department found a small white kitten inside. "Covered in just soot and soaking wet and shaking.  One of my neighors took her to the vet for us right away," she said.

And later Lt. Anguiano himself found an adult black cat.  Once pulled out of the house, Anguiano helped rehabilitate little "Rainbow Cupcake" and "Mr. Butterworth" named by Jaime's 5-year-old twin daughters.

"He sat there and held her and petted her and talked to her and put the mask on.  It was amazing to see," Telfeyan said.

"I've got to say it's pretty neat that someone took the time to design something specifically for animals," Anguiano said.

As Telfeyan watched her dream home turn to ash, she says she wasn't ready to have the conversation with her daughters that their cats didn't survive.  She's thankful that conversation didn't have to happen. 

"They walked out holding them it was like 'Thank God for the little things, you know, just such a blessing and for them to even be willing to keep running back in the building," Telfeyan said.

Telfeyan says all that was salvageable from her home is in her parents' garage where she's staying with her two daughters and her cats.  Rainbow Cupcake joined us for the interview, she seems to be doing just fine.

Water-logged memories have been laid out on the kitchen table to dry.

"At the end of the day I didn't care about anything that was in that house, I cared about the fact that my daughters were safe, their cats were good.  We can buy new books, we can buy new clothes.  It's just things," she said.

One of Telfeyan's neighbors started a GoFundMe for her. 

It's reached more than $12,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.

"I feel like I owe such a huge thank you and I don't even know how to make it big enough to tell them...you're changing my life.  You're saving me and my family so thank you," she said.

If you would like to visit the GoFundMe, click here.

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