Strangers help fire victims - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Strangers help fire victims

July 16, 2004

Baker County - A family hit by tragedy twice in 24 hours. While their home is still burning, a family member is recovering from a stroke. But, their story doesn't end without help from a stranger.

A house without a family and a family without a home. William Ellis, Junior looks at his home, "Ain't nothing saved, not nothing."

The Ellis family lost everything inside their Blue Springs Plantation home. Ellis sadly adds, "Heartbreaking."

Heartbreaking enough, but even more so when you learn William Ellis, Junior's father had two strokes the night before. His step brother Richard Parks looks at the charred remains, "I know he's feeling pretty bad with his dad in the hospital and this tragedy."

The fire slowly took over the house, taking with it 29 years of memories, all because of mother nature. Lightning struck, taking the house with it. Ellis says, "All my kids grew up in this home. Mother Nature, it's GODS work."

And maybe it's spiritual that Charlie Phillips and Wylean Wilson traveled here from Adel and Tifton. Phillips says, "It ain't everyday you get a chance to do something for someone."

On Friday, they gave the Ellis family clothes and food, complete strangers they saw on our 11:00 news. Phillips explains, "Last night I couldn't sleep until 4:00 this morning. I went to bed with it on my mind and woke up with it on my mind."

And now, William Ellis, Junior, his wife, daughter and grandson will have less on their mind as their wooden house goes down.

The owner plans to re-build in the same spot.

The Blue Springs Plantation owner will help pay for the family to stay in a hotel room this week and will go shopping for supplies.

posted at 6:15PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com