'You can't breathe': Sugar Land mom grieves loss of kids, mother in fire during freeze

After playing cards and spending time together by the fireplace, the tired family members headed to sleep, brushing their teeth and settling into bed as the Houston region descended into one of its coldest nights. The family’s home in Sugar Land, like millions of others across the Lone Star State by then, had no power. Edison, 8, went to the room of his 11-year-old sister, Olivia, which had bunk beds. The children’s grandmother, Loan Le, planned to sleep with the youngest, 5-year-old Colette.

'We've lost a lot of abuelitos': COVID conspiracy theories loom over Houston's hardest-hit group

Once a week, volunteers hand out fliers in Spanish to those in cars lined up at a food distribution site in New Caney. Harris County officials post similar announcements and reminders in Spanish almost every day on social media. The efforts offer a glimpse into operations underway across the Houston region and country to distribute accurate information about COVID-19 to Latinos, from those who may not speak English as fluently as they speak Spanish to those who have been exposed to misinformati

A Houston-area doctor treated COVID-19 patients for months. Then he became infected.

After months of treating COVID-19 patients, Dr. Carlos Araujo-Preza became infected with the coronavirus. Following a weeklong hospital stay, the critical care medical director at HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball found the strength to roll out of his own bed and brush his teeth, tasks he had not been able to easily accomplish at the hospital. Pained and distressed, he told his daughter, Andrea Araujo, he was thankful: He had not been intubated and, having treated patients with the same infection

Remembering 'the year of fire' in Texas as blazes rage through Northwest

BASTROP — John McPhaul knew the fire was coming, he just wasn’t sure how or when. By the time he sat down to eat a sandwich while overlooking the rows of pines poking at the sky behind his home, McPhaul’s wife Emily had evacuated to her mother’s home. The two had moved their most-coveted possessions to vaults in a bank weeks before, nodding to the inevitable after a particularly dry, hot year. Dark smoke clouds infiltrated the scenic sky, suppressing any relief McPhaul took in the possibility o

Former NFL player turned Redwood City firefighter sues department for racial bias

Nearly two years ago, Joseph Echema started sleeping in his car instead of the firehouse. By then, the former Oakland Raiders and Cal football player who works as a Redwood City firefighter had endured several incidents of discrimination and harassment at the department, he said. In one episode, Echema said he was watching news in the firehouse with his crew when a captain called people protesting police brutality “a bunch of thugs” who “deserved to be shot by the police.” In other instances,

80,000 expired N95 masks were left to rot until a UCSF doctor, engineer teamed up

Dr. Aenor Sawyer, an orthopedist at UCSF, was working on a coronavirus project to decontaminate masks in late March when she learned a startling fact: California had stockpiled 21 million N95 masks, and all of them were expired. By that time the pandemic had already taken hold in the U.S., and hospitals and first responders across the country were scrambling to get their hands on the virus-blocking face coverings and other personal protective equipment, or PPE. UCSF had its own stockpile of N9

As thousands of children are held at U.S. border, two East Bay girls are taking artistic action

Dozens of colorful butterflies sat still on the wooden patio table of a home in Alameda. About half a dozen stood motionless on a dining room table inside the house, while countless others rested inside a big, black garbage bag. More than 200 butterflies dangled on threads hanging from a rack outside the house, and countless others were packed in a cardboard box that was shipped from Kentucky. The butterflies — made of recycled materials — may be overwhelming in number, and that’s kind of the p

A tragic reminder of the hazards of tree work

Edgar Martin Ramos Martinez called his wife and four kids in Guatemala every morning, as he did every lunch break and after he finished work as a Bay Area arborist. The 37-year-old would hear updates from his children, and he and his wife would discuss the future they wanted for their children and where the family could build a house in their native country. But Ramos was killed Jan. 27 in an unincorporated part of Mill Valley when a tree he and his colleagues were cutting knocked over a secon