MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Mid-South family of 12 lost everything in a house fire, but they are thankful to still have each other.
Thursday, the family went back to the house for the first time since the fire.
“We’ve lost everything, we lost everything, but we still have our life. I thank God for that, but we can move forward, we gonna stay strong,” said Brenda Swearengen.
Swearengen and her husband lived in the two-story house on Brompton Road with 10 of their grandchildren, including a newborn, an autistic teen, and a deaf young adult.
When a fire broke out Sunday afternoon, Swearengen rushed everyone out of the house.
“I happened to be sitting outside in the back, and I saw smoke coming from my sunroom... by the time I make it to my den, which is next to the sunroom everything just, exploded at that point,” said Swearengen.
Firefighters say the cause of the fire is still under investigation. They say there was no working smoke alarm; the damage estimated at more than $70,000.
Breona White and her baby lived in the house.
“30 years of hard work burn up in flames, it’s devastating,” said White, Swearengen’s granddaughter.
White says she’s still in shock.
“For as long as I’ve been living this house has been a part of our family, and for it to no longer be here that’s like losing a part of my heart.”
White says her grandparents and a few others are staying in a hotel, while others stay with friends, but she says right now, they don’t have a permanent living situation.
Family members in Georgia have set up a GoFundMe page.
If you would like to make any clothing donations, they can be dropped off at Berean Missionary Baptist Church 1666 E Raines Rd, Memphis, TN 38116.