SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A Shelby County family was displaced after a house fire Tuesday night in the Shelby area.
During freezing cold temperatures, the family believes a propane tank with a top is to blame.
Lisa and Charles Higgins told CBS 42 they were using a tank top to provide heat to a room that was under construction and without power.
“I was eating my chili and I heard them hollering get out of the house and I got up and looked towards that room and I seen flames,” said Lisa Higgins.
The family had been staying in the mobile home with three grandchildren for the past three years.
“In an instant. in a matter of minutes, it was gone. Unstoppable,” said Charles Higgins.
The Shelby Volunteer Fire Chief Reed Cain recommended checking the valve on any propane tank top and also keeping the items a safe distance from the home, walls, or flammable materials.
Charles Higgins isn’t taking any chances.
“We had some more of the tops, but they got thrown away. We will never use another,” said Higgins.
In addition to losing clothes, mementos, and other belongings, some of the family pets also died in the fire.
The family will stay with other loved ones while they rebuild. A neighbor has already started a fundraiser on social media.
“It was real sad, I mean, I know it is hard to start all over and raise a family. I just jumped in and try to help do all I can for them. That’s what neighbors are supposed to do is pull together,” said Kerry Willbanks.
While the Higgins know there is a long road ahead, they feel blessed to be alive and thankful for the prayers and support from the community.
“You don’t realize how many people you can count on when something happens,” said Higgins.
If you are interested in helping the family, you can learn more about the online fundraiser here.
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