Fire Destroys White Oak Home - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Fire Destroys White Oak Home

An East Texas family is homeless today, after an early morning fire burns their house and much of their belongings.  Sabine and Kilgore fire departments responded the blaze on Highway 42, four miles south of White Oak just before 1:00 a.m.

Fire destroyed in minutes, the things that the Townsend family had spent a lifetime to get, including memories of people they loved.  "For me my biggest concern was having lost our son five years ago, not knowing if there was anything, picture memories of him," said fire victim Debbie Townsend.

They find themselves in unfamiliar territory, asking what we might as if it was us.  "Scared. Nervous.  How do you start over 25 years of marriage and over 45 years of our life in this," Debbie said.

"Apprehension.  Just got to start over and where do you start. Where do you do from here? I wasn't insured," said husband Mike Townsend.

One son, in the Army Reserve who could be called soon to Iraq, lost all his uniforms.  "He could be called any day," Debbie said.

As in most fires, the Townsend family find themselves in familiar territory they've lost everything but they're thankful for little things that they didn't lose.  Undamaged keepsakes and pictures are found, and something Debbie valued more than money:  her wedding dress.  "Our pictures were intact. I found the wedding dress first then I found our marriage certificate," she said.

They lost so much, but they show a toughness through tragedy.  "You got to dig down deep. You can't quit can't roll over and play dead.  Life goes on.  We're not the first ones this has happened to," said Mike.

For the family, the fire has left them taking stock in all they have lost.  But thankful to be alive.  If you'd like to help the Townsend family, you can make a donation to them at any City National Bank in the name of the Townsend family.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.


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