MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A community is rallying around one Mid-South family that lost everything in a house fire in the 3400 block of Sharpe Avenue.
Everyone escaped alive when their house near Sharpe Elementary was engulfed in flames Friday evening. Everything in the home was gone—furniture, books, clothes, even shoes.
“I kicked the door in to the kitchen and the kids was in there,” recalled one of the fire victims, Patricia Brooks.
Brooks said a total of nine children, ages 1-17, and two adult women were in the home when it caught fire.
Four of Brooks' grandchildren attend Sharpe Elementary. Saturday morning, the school stepped up to help. Staff members worked the phones, trying to raise donations and collect clothing for the Brooks family.
“We are trying to raise money for the family and provide essentials such as diapers, underwear, socks, clothes, especially uniforms,” said family services specialist Stephanie Gatewood.
Sunday, Sharpe Elementary collected more donations for the family.
On Monday afternoon, Gatewood added that Sharpe Elementary had a great response to WMC Action News 5's call for help. Gatewood said that they raised enough money to put the family up in the Extended Stay Hotel until Monday, Jan. 19.
Gatewood said the family is also working with MIFA, but since it is a large family the situation is difficult.
The fire that destroyed Brooks' home is the family's second tragedy in recent days. Last month, a fire in Byhalia claimed the lives of three children. Two of them were cousins of Brooks' grandchildren.
"I feel kind of bad because everywhere I go, tragedy like this happens," said Brooks.
Brooks says they're depending on their faith to see them through these hard times.
"He's going to make a way," commented Brooks. "God is going to make a way. He's put me through a lot, and I know this is a challenge, and I know I'll be alright."
Brooks says investigators think the fire started in the attic around the heating system.
Meanwhile, volunteers at Sharpe Elementary are still collecting clothing and other items for the family.
If you would like to help the family, call 901-416-5020.
The victims' ages and sizes are as follows:
Boy, 18 months, shoe 6, needs Pampers.
Boy, 3, shoe 10.5, shirt 3T, pants 3T
Girl, 4, shoe 11, shirt 4T, pants 4T
Boy, 6, shoe 6, shirt small, pants 8
Boy, 7, shoe 5, shirt medium, pants 7
Girl, 9, shoe 7, shirt medium, pants 9
Boy, 11, shoe 6, shirt XL, pants 16-18
Girl, 13, shoe 7, shirt medium, pants 12
Boy, 17, shoe 9.5, shirt large, pants 32
Woman, 32, shoe 11, shirt XL, pants 18
Woman, 52, shoe 10, shirt XL, pants 14