Family watches home go up in flames, but far from first disaster - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Family watches home go up in flames, but far from first disaster

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Camilla- Jessie Gaines can tell you about everything that was once in her Camilla home.

 But after it burned on March 1, she has nothing to show but ashes and soot.

"All we we're trying to think about was getting' safe," Gaines said. "So we didn't save anything."

Her family saved itself by getting out alive. The living room was full that night for a celebration.

"My birthday and I turned 63," she said. "This is a birthday I will never, ever forget."

 Actually, it would be hard for Jessie to forget anything that's happened in this house. She and her husband lived on Old Georgia Highway 3. It's the same neighborhood hit by the Valentine's Day tornado in 2000, the neighborhood that was hit again by a second tornado in 2003. A few months later, she lost part of the house in a kitchen fire. This time, she lost everything.

"I'm thinking God is trying to tell us something," Gaines said.

An electrical problem started the blaze inside the utility room. But family members say the house was caving in when firefighters arrived.

"The sheriff, the police, the emergency wagon," said Gaines' daughter, Willie Pearl McNeil. "All them got here before the fire department. And we can't understand why it took them so long."

Now they can't understand why Jessie may want to move back.

"We're thinking about it," Gaines said laughing. "Yeah, we're thinking about it."

Sometimes you can't do no better right then. And you just have to be where you have to be at."

If she has to be back in her home on Old Georgia Highway 3, then she'll make sure it's the kind of home it's always been.