Community activist’s north Houston home catches fire for second time


by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 28 at 6:40 PM

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HOUSTON— Community activist John Branch had his Houston home catch on fire for the second time in less than six months, family members said late Wednesday.

After three decades of patrolling the streets of his northwest Houston neighborhood on Thursday he said it could be the last time.

“It could be,” said Branch.  “I’m definitely going have to take a break.”

He was forced to take a break after the overnight fire that ravaged the home he’s lived in since childhood.

It was the second blaze in six months at the home.

Branch said his barking dogs kept everyone inside alive.

“Because we had no idea the fire had gotten out of control like this until they woke us up,” he said.

Investigators believe the cause of both fires was electrical.

Branch fights crime in his neighborhood by going on watch patrol. 

He has no homeowners insurance and said caring for his family is now his top priority.

“It’s kind of like a boxing match.  You get hit once or twice and you get knocked down.  It’s kind of hard to get up sometimes,” he said.

But some of Branch’s neighbors were upset to find out Branch might not be on patrol anymore.

Essie Stephens is 94 years old.

“I hope that’s not the case,” she said.  “I depend on John whenever I’m in trouble.”

Branch and his family currently have no place to live.

He said he was leaning on God to help see them through.