Community helps family of 8 who lost everything in house fire - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Community helps family of 8 who lost everything in house fire

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(WMC-TV) - A West Tennessee family is expressing gratitude after a number of people donated items after their home was destroyed in fire last week.

The Munford-Atoka Fire Department says space heaters are an excellent way to stay warm on these cold days but they can also be dangerous.

A photo of Richard Barbera's home shows melted walls and a charred frame. The cause? A space heater.

"Got a phone call from a neighbor and came home and seen smoke coming from my roof," said Barbera. "My wife was in tears."

Barbera says he, his wife, and their six kids, who are all 7 years old and younger, were not home when the fire started.

The family lost everything including clothes, food, and personal items.

"It's not about the clothes or articles you collect. Its about the things you can't get back, things that are your kids, special toys they can't get back," Barbera said.

"She told me she had set a space heater on the counter in the bathroom," said Munford-Atoka Fire Department Chief Alan Barkelew. "We found it on the floor. I don't know if it fell off."

Barkelew says the fire should serve as a reminder to turn space heaters off when you leave your house. You should also keep them three feet away from walls and combustibles.

"I wouldn't have a space heater. I'd throw the space heaters out," said Barbera.

Insurance adjusters are expected to visit the Barberas house next week to fully asses the damage and its costs.

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