Family mourns death of daughter, grandson killed in Parrish camper fire

Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

PARRISH, Ala. (WIAT) — The State Fire Marshal’s Office is still investigating a camper fire in Parrish that claimed the life of 35-year-old Jennifer Thetford and her 3-year-old son Devin Thetford. The fire happened Wednesday morning on Swann St.  

For Tina and Tim Sherer, the respective mother and stepfather of Jennifer, it’s still impossible to comprehend. They live right across the street from the camper and saw it engulfed in flames Wednesday. 

“I heard something go boom and I looked out and [Tim] was hollering ‘I couldn’t get her out, I tried the best that I could,'” said Tina Sherer. 

Tim Sherer first saw the smoke while driving back home, but he never thought for a moment that it could be his stepdaughter’s camper. When he arrived, he tried to help get everyone out, but to no avail. 

“I got out of the truck and I hollered for them. Jennifer and Devin! Jennifer and Devin!” explained Tim Sherer. “I opened the door, there were smoke and flames, and I couldn’t go in. But I didn’t hear screaming or crying.”

Just days before the fire, the whole family had gotten together to take Jennifer, Devin and their other grandson to the zoo — a memory that Tim and Tina say they will cherish forever. 

“He was so excited that he got to ride the camel,” said Tina. “And then he and Jennifer rode the camel together and it was a good day. It was a good day at the zoo.”

The State Fire Marshal’s Office tells CBS 42 that they are still uncertain what caused the camper to catch on fire, but they do not believe it was foul play.

For Tina and Tim, they’re holding on tightly: to each other, and the memories they shared with Jennifer and Devin.

“[Devin] came in [our house Tuesday night] and gave me a hug and kiss and said ‘night-night, papa. I love you.’ I said ‘are you going home with mama?’ and he said ‘yeah.’ And that’s the last thing I said to him,” said Tim. 

The family is now preparing to lay their loved ones to rest and a GoFundMe page has been started to assist with the funeral expenses. A link to that page may be found here. 

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