BELTON — A woman who lost almost everything except her puppy and family pictures in a house fire Thursday morning still managed to see God’s hand in the loss.

Ruth Drake, 84, lived in the 400 block of South East Street until the smell of smoke alerted her and Mike Hamilton, who was staying with her as she recuperated from hip replacement surgery. He helped her out of the house along with Shortcake, her 4-month-old poodle mix puppy.

After the fire, Drake sat in front of a heater at her neighbor’s house across the street. Her eyes filled with tears as she said her family pictures were safe.

“We got my family photos out. This one is of my daddy when he was young,” Drake said as she picked up a very heavy, old photo of a boy pictured with his family.

Drake doesn’t know what her plans are or where she will stay.

Her neighbors plan to set up an account for her at an area bank so people can make donations.

Hamilton said Drake’s washer and dryer are OK, along with her cameras, but his clothing and everything else in the house is ruined.

“I just bought her two new TVs and was adding on to her house,” Hamilton said.

The house was heavily damaged. Belton Fire Chief Francisco Corona said the house is no longer usable.

The call came at 8:29 a.m. and firefighters found flames and smoke coming from the home. Twenty-five minutes later the fire was under control.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, firefighter Jeff Booker said.

Belton and Morgan’s Point Resort volunteer firefighters, along with Scott & White EMS, were on standby for the city so Belton fire and EMS crews could work the fire.

Drake said she thought about hanging her family photos in the living room Wednesday but decided not to. “I would have lost them,” she said. “God works in mysterious ways.”

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