Fire destroys Topeka veteran’s home on his birthday

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Topeka veteran spent his birthday picking up charred pieces of everything he owns after a fire tore through his duplex on Tuesday leaving him homeless.

On most days Angel Villamar is the one delivering mail at his job as a mailman, but Tuesday was supposed to be one where he was getting the mail because it was his birthday.

It definitely wasn’t the day he wished for.

“Well it’s my 62nd birthday, and it’s one hell of a party I guess. It’ll be one I won’t forget for sure,” Villamar said.

After an appointment at the VA on Tuesday, he went home to take a nap.

“Somebody is pounding on my door, and I noticed that there were flames. when I looked up it was my apartment that was on fire,” Villamar said.

Even with high winds, Topeka Captain Bruce Andruss said firefighters had it out within minutes.

“The fire can grow a lot more quickly and can extend to surrounding structures. So it was important for them to attack the fire as quickly as they could and make sure they got it out of control,” Andruss said. “I think it went very well. They knocked it out very quickly and did a great job.”

In those few minutes though, the flames destroyed almost everything, leaving Villamar homeless.

“I’m just numb. It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Villamar said.

As an Army veteran, Villamar is no stranger to hard work and overcoming adversity. So despite this birthday tragedy, he’ll take this year on with determination and a smile on his face.

“It happens, that’s life, we move on. We can’t stay angry all the time, got to do something about it, find the positive in all this. Hopefully there is some positive in it,” Villamar said.

Fire investigators said it looks like the fire was accidental and might have been sparked by a cigarette.

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