Community rallies around Sabine Co. family of 8 after house fire

Fire officials say the Mitchell’s, a family of eight, were out of town over the weekend when their house burned down.

Community rallies around Sabine Co. family of 8 after house fire

SABINE COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Over the weekend, a fire destroyed a house leaving a family of eight without a home. It happened around 4 a.m. Saturday in Sabine County on Springhill Road in between Hemphill and Pineland.

Community members calling it ‘devastating’ for the family and knew something had to be done.

“First thing I thought was ‘my friends,’ and their kids now didn’t have a home, and what could we do to help them” family friend Cassie Bozeman said.

Fire officials say the Mitchell’s, a family of eight, were out of town over the weekend when their house burned down.

“They’ve got six kids: two high school boys, two middle school kids, and two three-month-old twins,” said neighbor and Hemphill Middle School teacher Werner Burwood.

“Homes can be replaced,” Shelby Insurance Agent Teresa Neal said. “Items can be replaced. Thank goodness nobody was at home.”

Hemphill Volunteer Fire Chief Glen Chance says his department and the Pineland Volunteer Fire Department did all they could, but the house is a total loss.

“As soon as the news hit, everyone was trying to figure out what they could do to help,” Neal said.

Teresa Neal works at Shelby Insurance Agency in Hemphill, where donations have been dropped off for the family’s immediate needs.

“People have dropped off diapers, clothes for kids, shoes,” she said. “A lot of people wanted to send money. We had a check dropped off yesterday. A lot of people reaching out through PayPal.”

Hemphill Middle School Teacher Werner Burwood lives near the Mitchell’s. On Facebook, he asked for donations for the family, and within 24 hours, he says nearly $1,000 was raised.

“The community has really rallied around them,” he said. “When people have a fire, they are devastated. If you can’t help, or can’t do something directly, everybody can do something indirectly.”

The American Red Cross was also called in by the volunteer fire departments to help the Mitchell’s.

“I’m so proud of this community,” Neal said. “Every time you hear of a tragedy, our community steps up and does everything that they can.”

“It just means a lot to me because my friends, they would never ask for help,” Bozeman said. “And for so many people to be helping, it is just a miracle and Godsent. We’re so thankful.”

What caused the fire is still under investigation, but fire crews say it is not suspicious.

Bozeman and her husband say they plan to hold a BBQ benefit in Bronson (124 Hemphill St.) Saturday at 1 p.m., with all proceeds going to the Mitchell’s.

The family says their hearts are filled with gratitude at the way people have all reached out to help them.

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