The Valdosta Daily Times
A New Year’s Day fire reduced a home to rubble and memories Tuesday, just three years after the family settled into the 4041 Stewart Circle residence.
Kathy West said her son, husband and brother-in-law were all outside of the house at approximately 5 p.m. Tuesday, when the fire ignited. She had been buying propane at Walmart when her son called her, frantically relaying news of the fire, she said.
“It was devastating and definitely not how we wanted to bring in the new year,” West said Wednesday. “I was hysterical. I couldn’t think. I was in tears and I couldn’t sleep last night. But the Lowndes County Fire Rescue was awesome. They were very good to us and so were the people from the American Red Cross.”
The family had enjoyed a bonfire on New Year’s Eve, West said, and they had posed for pictures with relatives from Florida mere minutes before fire destroyed most of their possessions. West’s son, Nick, said he was outside playing when the fire started, but the gravity of the family’s loss didn’t hit him until Wednesday as he carefully navigated the rubble to find remnants of his Xbox and other belongings.
“Last night, when it all happened, I was being brave because my mom was in tears,” said Nick. “I was holding my emotions in, but it all came out this morning.”
The West family has found a temporary place to live, said West, but they have nothing to furnish its rooms or cupboards. The family needs everything from small appliances and non-perishable goods to clothing and furnishings.
“What the devil took away, the Lord will resupply,” said West. “We will accept anything anyone wants to donate and nothing will go to waste.”
West said her 13-year-old son, who lost his new weight bench and punching bag, wears size 36-29 in pants, size 10 shoes and large shirts. All of his possessions were in his room and lost to the fire, West said.
West’s husband wears size 32-32 pants and size 12 or 13 shoes, she said. Due to hip trouble, she said he requires high-top shoes with firm ankle support. Kathy wears size 7 shoes.
Contributions to the family may be submitted to the West Family Fund at Ameris Bank.