MANTECA -- A Manteca teen came home from work Wednesday to find her house on fire and raced inside to save what she could.
Brandi Hauser never thought she would find her home for the past eight years on fire.
"It’s a shocking moment, you don’t know how to feel about it and it’s like, 'Is this reality right now? Should I pinch myself? Should I wake up from the dream?'" she said.
The Manteca Fire Department reports the fire started in a bedroom in the back of the home on Norman Drive Wednesday night around 9:30. Hauser, a junior at Manteca High School, says she ran into the home to save the family’s three lizards and two dogs.
"I didn’t really think. I just ran in and I was like, 'I have to get my animals out.' They were yelling at me, 'Don’t go in there,' and I was like, 'No, I’m going. I have to get them out,'" Hauser said. "I didn’t know how far the fire was going to spread so I was like, 'I have to get out what I can that is living in there.' That’s me as a person, so I didn’t second-think it at all."
Hauser said the family cat was able to escape on its own and returned the next day.
Manteca officials have ruled the fire an accident caused by an unattended lighter or torch. They say much of the fire damage happened in the room and the attic, while the rest of the home sustained heavy smoke damage.
Friends, like Blake Coronado, have been active on social media. They have been trying to help Hauser and her family get back on their feet quickly, especially since the fire took nearly everything Hauser owned.
"I’ve come to know how giving and caring she is," Coronado said. "So knowing that something happened to her and being the nicest person possible to people, I knew just I had to be there."
Hauser said seeing the outpouring of support has been comforting. She has had many people open their homes to her as her family looks for temporary housing.
She said even though looking at her home gated up is tough, she is ready to find a new home with her family.
"There’s so many memories in the house itself. I always said I hated that house but when you look back at the memories, there’s the people and everything that made it good there," Hauser said. "It’s hard to leave everything behind but you always carry the memories and things in your heart. It sucks to lose the possessions but it’s what’s happening right now. So I do carry the good things I do have left, you know?"
If you are interested in helping Hauser and her family, a GoFundMe page has been created.