93-year-old Texarkana woman loses home to car fire just 2 days before her birthday


TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – A Texarkana woman lost her home just days before her 93rd birthday after her car caught on fire Monday morning.

Alberta Keel, who is known to her family as “Aunt Bert,” has lived on West 7th street since the 1950s. On Monday, December 21, just two days before her birthday, Keel went to crank up her car as she normally would before heading into town.

“I did start it but as I went back to the door to go inside the house, I heard kind of a popping sound like a pistol,” said Keel.

“That made me look back. When I looked back to the car, that was parked in the garage over behind me, I saw a wisp of smoke and I’m looking I said ‘what’? And then heard another louder pop, like a pistol it said ‘pow’. By that time the flames had started from under the hood. I said oh Jesus.”

Keel says she ran out of the house to her next-door neighbor where her niece and nephew live, and the flames continued to grow.

“When they got here, [there] was one pow, pow and flames going higher it was just you know I’ve never seen nothing like that before,” said Keel.

Firefighters declared her home as unlivable. Aunt Bert lost everything but is thankful for her life as she has raised several generations in her home. Keel says she is blessed and hopes this is a message to everyone to take precautions when you hear any usual noises in your vehicle.

“Have mercy Lord, Just a little bit more I would have been in the car on the highway.”

According to family members, Aunt Bert is more of a giver than a taker. She does not need anything to be replaced. For her 93rd birthday, which is Wednesday, Dec. 23, she just wants people to think of Christ.

“To call on the name of Jesus, you celebrating Christmas do you know who you’re talking about,” said Keel. Keel’s family says they are thankful for her life.

“Thank you, Aunt Bert, we love you,” said family members.

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