A mom and her three young children lost everything they owned in a house fire in Chico late Tuesday night.
Melanie Belcher and her three children escaped without injury, but their home – located in the 300 block of N. Hovey Street – was a total loss. The fire started about 11 p.m. after a candle was knocked over in one of the bedrooms.
“It was accidental,” said Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard. “The (12-year-old) boy was asleep in his room when the fire started. His 8-year-old sister did an amazing job of waking him up and getting him out of the house safely.”
Firefighters from Chico, Alvord and Bridgeport volunteer fire departments responded.
“They did a great job to keep the fire from spreading,” Beard said.
The American Red Cross provided the family, which includes a year-old infant, a place to stay for the night. They were renting the home and did not have renter’s insurance.
“It was unusually cold last night for this time of year, in the low 60s,” Beard added. “One of the volunteers had to wrap a blanket around the children to keep them warm.”
All they could do is look on as toys, clothes and shoes melted into charred heaps as firefighters doused the flames.
How to help
The local office of the American Red Cross is accepting donations on behalf of the Belcher family.
Wendy Graham, Red Cross disaster action team captain for Wise and northern Parker counties, will be at the Red Cross office 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to accept donations of clothing, household items, cash and gift cards on behalf of Ms. Belcher. The local Red Cross office is on Mill Street in Decatur at the back of Wise Area Relief Mission, by the loading dock.
Graham is also providing a notebook for those who would like to write a note to the family.
Clothing is needed in the following sizes: Melanie wears a plus size, 4X and size 11 shoe. Her son, Jesse, wears a boys size 14 and size 9 shoe. He likes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Melanie’s daughter, Sarah, wears girls size 7/8 and wears a size 2 shoe. She likes Monster High and Hello Kitty. The baby, Hope, wears size 9 months in clothes and size 2 diapers. Graham said gift cards would be helpful to purchase formula.