Neighbors, principal react to fire that left six children homele - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Neighbors, principal react to fire that left six children homeless

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LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas family of ten is homeless this evening after a fire destroyed their house overnight.

The fire started at around 4:00 this morning in the 200 block of Richardson Drive in Longview.

The community is now trying to help the family who lost everything.

The home was gutted and roof caved in. Fire investigators say the blaze started in a water heater closet.  

"Well, we know the fire started in the area of the water heater; it then spread into the attic area. Fortunately someone noticed fire coming out of the ceiling, and  they were able to get everyone out of the house uninjured," says Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary.

Investigators say the family took their fire detector down to replace the batteries, and had not yet put it back, so there was no alarm.

Ten people lived at the home. Six of them were children. and one was a special needs adult.

"Kind of hurt me when I first seen it. They lost everything, everything they had in the house. Everybody got out ok, that's the main thing. That's a blessing," says family friend Ronny Ray Carter.

Ware Elementary, where two of the children attended, is already working on helping the family.

"With our holidays coming up ... and it involves children ... therefore, we want to be able to step in and help the family during this Thanksgiving time but also extending into the Christmas holiday and past.  Because after that time they're still going to need some help. They're going to need everything, so we're here to help. We will be soliciting help from our district as well. We're here; we love them,' says Ware Elementary Principal Sarah Shepherd.

The fire caused about $20,000 in damages.

"They were not insured so they just had a pretty significant loss," Zackary says.

The American Red Cross is helping the family of four adults and six children, ranging in age from 1 to 12 years old.

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