What is believed to be an electrical fire in the attic of a house off of Bells Ferry Road caused damage to the roof and upper area of the home.
No one was injured, a fire spokesperson said.
Firefighters quickly arrived on the scene about 12:30 a.m. Thursday, to find flames coming out of the roof, and the fire, which took about 45 minutes to bring under control, caused damage to about 10 percent of the structure, according to Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson Tim Cavender.
Homeowner Brittany Chenault, who was home when the fire started, said her four children were staying at their dad’s house the night of the fire, but said when she awoke to smoke she forgot they weren’t there.
“I was confused because I was sleeping, so I thought that the boys were in there for a second, in their bedroom which is at the end of the house, and then I remembered that I was by myself,” Chenault said. “So I ran back to my room, I tried to hit the panic button on the alarm system, but there was nothing there because I guess the fire had hurt the wiring. So I just ran out and I ran to my neighbor’s.”
Firefighters from stations 21 and 22 responded along with other Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services squads. Emergency personnel got to the house about eight minutes after receiving the call. Cavender said they arrived to find smoke coming from the roof and attic and the fire looked aggressive.
“Luckily the kids weren’t there and I was just by myself, but it was traumatic. It’s been a rollercoaster,” Chenault said.
Cavender said State Farm Insurance was at the house Friday investigating the cause, and there are salvage covers on the roof.
Chenault said it was the worst two days of her life, and after the house was assessed Friday, she said it would need to be gutted and have new roof, new ceilings, carpet, tile, cabinets and counters installed.
“There’s minivan-sized holes in the roof,” Chenault said. “Every single thing in the house smells like smoke … it’s just the most putrid smell.”
Chenaults’ mother, Melinda Wyant Jansen, said she and the sister and Chenault’s sister-in-law established a website to raise money for the family, asking for $5,000 to help them get by until insurance money is available.
On the website, Chenault’s sister wrote that Chenault “has already endured many challenges this year: unemployment, a divorce, a stray bullet/car shooting and now a devastating house fire.”
State Farm Insurance will provide the family with temporary housing and the website is asking people for financial support until Chenault receives insurance money to rebuild. Chenault said she planned on returning to work Monday and that donations will go toward buying necessities like toothbrushes and replacement clothing since many of their items were damaged.
“My heart could just explode, I’m just overwhelmed (by the generosity), in a good way,” Chenault said. “I don’t know how to thank people.”
Chenault is insured, and said the repairs to her house could take months. At the time of publication, the online fundraiser had already raised more than half of the money they asked for. The donation website is online at http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/brittany-s-fire-fund/63101 and those wishing to make an offline donation can email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
There is also a Facebook page set up for people who want to follow along as the situation changes.