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Santa Rosa family loses home in afternoon fire, blames fire department response time

Photo of what's left following an afternoon fire in Santa Rosa. (Source: KGBT Photo)

A house fire in Santa Rosa on Tuesday afternoon left a family with nothing, and they say it could have been prevented, if the local fire department had done more.

The Galaniz family tells CBS 4 that the Santa Rosa Volunteer Fire Department took too long to respond and weren't even prepared when they finally made it to their home.

"It was like 50 minutes and probably the whole house was down," says Jacob Castaneda, the family's neighbor. "I was just asleep and I heard a big loud bang and that's whenever my girlfriend called me to come outside because she said the next door neighbors’ house caught on fire."

The family of six watched it all happen.

"My kids, pulled up on the bus and they witnessed their house on fire, something I never wanted to occur, I didn't want my children to see that but they saw that," said Connie Galaniz.

Their home caught fire around 3 p.m. on February 5 and they called immediately for help.

"We called like around 2:50, that's when we started calling - me and my husband who noticed the smoke," said family friend Maricela Saldana.

The family said when firefighters showed up around 30 minutes later, they didn't have water in the truck.

"By the time the other town of La Feria gets here with their water, the house was already going down - it was already all in flames," Galaniz said.

CBS 4 reached out to the Santa Rosa fire chief for more information, but he was not available for comment.

"It could've been our life you know? What if it had been done at night time? Or the next night? Thank God it happened when it did because thank God we're here but we could've saved it if only we'd had good trucks with water," Galaniz said.

Galaniz hopes the volunteer firehouse will use this as a lesson so it never happens to a family in need again.

"It took too long. Our home could've been saved if Santa Rosa would've been on the ball and had water in their trucks but they get here with no water," she said

The Galaniz family is accepting donations, and if you're interested in helping out you can find that link here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/367022057217254/?fundraiser_source=external_url

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