Sixteen East Texans left without home, Christmas gifts after Sun - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Sixteen East Texans left without home, Christmas gifts after Sunday blaze

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The entire family said they are just lucky to be together, alive and well. The entire family said they are just lucky to be together, alive and well.
WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) -

Donations are pouring in for a family of 16, who lost everything when fire tore through their home Sunday afternoon in Whitehouse.

Fortunately, all ten adults and six children were able to escape the burning house unharmed.

“It was like this big old blaze of fire and it went whoosh,” said 21-year-old Rodney Anderson, who lives at the house.

Anderson and 15 other family members were at home and forced to run out the door after they say electrical circuits started smoking. Smoke quickly turned to flames, spreading through the attic to the entire house.

“The kids came running in this part right here and they were like fire, fire,” Anderson said. “All the kids were screaming, all freaked out, so we got all the kids out.”

Everything inside the home, which was being leased by Anderson’s mother, is a total loss. The family said Christmas presents that were donated by a local church to help the family were also torched in the blaze.

“The kids are sad,” Anderson said. “They're saying, ‘What about our Christmas presents?’ It's kind of sad to say, but they don't have any Christmas presents. They're wondering if Santa is going to come see them and we're like, Santa is going to come no matter what, no matter how we do this.”

The tragedy is a reality the family said they are still working on grasping.

“We're just restless,” Anderson said. “We're thinking it's a dream, but it's not a dream. It's real life and it happened.”

But even with their massive loss, the family still finds gratitude.

“This fire could have happened when we were asleep,” Anderson said. “We could not be alive today. I give grace to God and the fireman. They couldn't save much, but they did save our lives.”

The entire family said they are just lucky to be together, alive and well.

The Whitehouse Volunteer Fire Department is currently accepting donations during operating hours at two locations through at least Friday. Their main fire station is located on East Main St. and Highway 110 and is open 24 hours. The second location is at Highway 110 near County Road 2177. That location closes at 5 P.M. daily.

A fund has also been set up at local Austin Bank branches under the name “Kendrick Family Fire Relief Fund.”

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