The Houston Jewish Community was struck by tragedy over Shabbos, when a fire tore through the home of a well-known family, leaving the wife R”L dead, and husband in critical condition.
Firefighters were called around 7:45PM to the home of Julius and Eva Lou Chapman, in the 9400 block of Greenwillow St. They said they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the one-story brick house.
Once inside, they found Julius Chapman near the front of the house with burns and suffering smoke inhalation.
He was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Firefighters located the body of Mrs. Eva Lou (Chava Leah bas Yosef Leib)Chapman A”H shortly after.
The Chapman’s [both in their 70’s] were pioneers in early Houston.
Family members told TOT that they built a mikvah in their bedroom which was used back then by the community.
Please say tehillim for Yosef Chaim Alter Ben Malka.
Not only did firefighters try their best to save the pair, but the community tried as well, neighbors said.
Neighbor Chris Martin grabbed an ax and tried to help.
“The door was so blocked we couldn’t even push the door open. So I tried to chop a hole in the door to get in,” he said.
Martin didn’t know the couple, but said when a neighbor’s in need, you don’t hesitate to help.
“When I read this morning that someone really died it kind of makes you wonder, ‘Could I have chopped harder? Could I have beat the door down more or done something?’ But (we) did the best that we could do.” Martin said.
The victims’ cousin said the couple has a big family,
“They probably have about 50 grandchildren, great grandchildren, too,” Alysa Graves said.
The elderly couple was big in the Jewish community and members of the United Orthodox Synagogue.
Investigators are looking into what may have started the fire.
No Levaya information was available.
Boruch Dayan Ha’Emmes…