East Texas Community Rises To Help Family Who Lost Home To Fire - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/3/08- Tyler

East Texas Community Rises To Help Family Who Lost Home To Fire

A single mother fighting cancer is facing another battle, but she won't have to go it alone. Wednesday night, we told you about a house fire in Tyler that destroyed the home of Carolyn Calloway. Calloway and her children lost everything, but now as KLTV 7's Courtney Lane shows us, neighbors are doing everything they can to make sure they won't do without for long.

"All of a sudden we just heard a loud explosion," said Tiffany Carpenter.

Before they knew it, the Calloway's home was gone, their belongings destroyed. But as the smoke cleared, this East Texas community rose-up, offering hugs and their support.

"Everybody coming together is really helping," said Carpenter.  "Jason and Rheanon and all of our neighbors in the cul-de-sac and Southern Oaks Baptist Church; everybody's pulling together and giving their 100."

"Everyone in this community is amazing people," said neighbor Jason Arbuckle.  "I've never seen a need go unmet."

Calloway is battling thyroid and breast cancer. Her two sons, Derek and R.C. attend Robert E. Lee, and their sister Tiffany has a baby of her own.

"My brothers I'm sure, they think all that mom's going through we all hurt for her yesterday."

Thankful they all made it out safely, but now they're trying to pick up the pieces and a community is on a mission to help.

"I've had the school call, Robert E. Lee, and they wanted to help, and I just had another lady call and say she wanted to drop some money off," said neighbor Larry Smith. 

"A lot of us are construction workers and business owners," said Arbuckle.  "We definitely have the resources to help make this thing get back together as soon as possible."

"It's incredible for people to still love one another regardless of race and class," said Carpenter.

From church offerings to door-to-door donations, it shows the true spirit of compassion.

"That's what we should do," said Smith.  "That's what we're put here on earth for, to help everybody we can."

If you would like to donate contact the Smith County Red Cross. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Courtney Lane, Reporting  clane@kltv.com

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