An East Texas man lost everything today when his house burned to the ground. It happened on Aspen Trail near Gilmer in Upshur County.
The homeowner says he left for an early morning motorcycle ride and when he returned just minutes later, his house was completely engulfed.
Riding motorcycles has been Ronnie Jenkins' favorite pastime since he was young. He received his first one at the age of four. Today, taking an early morning joy ride may have saved his life.
"I wasn't gone five minutes and I've lost everything I had," he said.
He went just two miles.
"The flames all the way up the top of them trees there, and I was not gone five minutes," he said.
When he arrived home, his entire house was engulfed. He had just finished adding on a living room.
"It was like an airline done hit it," he said.
Both Gilmer and Pritchett Volunteer Fire Departments responded, but by the time they arrived, the house was a total loss.
With no insurance, Ronnie says his home is now just a pile of junk. But his neighbors were hear all morning, to make sure Ronnie would get back on a motorcycle soon enough.
"Well, I mean, we're neighbors and I hate it that it happened to him," Frances Woolery said.
After calling 911, the Woolerys spent all morning by Ronnie's side.
"I love them people to death; I've been here twelve years and they've been the best neighbors you could ask for," he said.
The American Red Cross was also on scene to help Jenkins.
"I should have known not to go outside; today was Friday the thirteenth," he said, although today, his luck, and his motorcycle, led him safely outdoors.
There were no injuries, but two of his indoor cats perished, as did some of the strays that lived under his deck. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but Gilmer Fire officials tell us it is not being investigated as suspicious.