Fire chief, police sergeant lose home in weekend fire

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

Whiteville, TN (WMC) - Citizens in Hardeman County are rallying behind a couple who have devoted their lives to serving others in the community after a fire destroyed their home and everything in it, including their pet.

An electrical fire destroyed Ernie and Debbie Burkeen's home across from Whiteville City Hall on Saturday night.

Six different fire departments responded to the raging blaze and it took them five hours to get the fire under control.

Ironically, the home was that of Whiteville Volunteer Fire Chief Ernie Burkeen and his wife, who is a long serving sergeant for the Whiteville Police Department.

"The thing about Debbie that everybody should know is that when this happens to someone else, she is the very first one that starts organizing fundraisers and benefits," Police Chief Steven Stanley said.

Chief Stanley said the tragic fire killed the Burkeen's beloved chihuahua Sophie. Now, it gives the tight knit community a chance to repay the family for all their service.

For those interested in helping out the Burkeens, you can call the Whiteville Police Department at 731-254-9450.

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