LONOKE COUNTY, Ark. – A family of five lost everything but the clothes on their back in a house fire just days before Thanksgiving, leaving them still working to get back on track.
Jessica Case said her family is still sorting through what’s left of their first family home, where they had lived for the last three years.
“Emotional, it’s very emotional,” she explained.
Case was home with her mother-in-law and three sleeping kids when the fire started to spread.
“We heard the power surge, it was a ‘Woom, woom, woom,’ she recalled. “I jumped up took off running to the kitchen, as soon as I opened the back door, I saw the fire was in the laundry room.”
Case leapt into action, getting her kids outside, waving down a nearby officer and getting 911 on the phone.
Drake Strickland said he was almost at his office in Little Rock when he got the call that the house was on fire.
“Your first instinct is to grab a water hose and start spraying it to save what you can,” he explained.
“He (Strickland) got here, and as soon as he pulled up, he was like ‘Where is the fire department, where is the fire department?’” Case said. “I said, ‘I called them, they are coming!’”
Unfortunately, Case said it took the fire department almost an hour to arrive. By then, she said the house was a total loss.
“I know they couldn’t be here when they wanted to be here,” she lamented. “I know if they could, they would have been here right when it happened.”
Case and Strickland said they believe most of the house could have been saved if the fire department arrived sooner.
However, they don’t have any hard feelings, in fact, just the opposite.
“My faith in humanity has been restored,” Case said. “I didn’t know people could be so giving.”
The cause of the fire is still being investigated, though the family believes it was an electrical fire that started in the laundry room.