Exclusive look inside burnt home, family in need of help

Mississippi Ave. Fire Family Reaction

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -One Albany family is still in need after their home was destroyed Tuesday on Mississippi Avenue.

The fire was ruled as an arson, and two families were impacted.

WALB News 10′s Asia Wilson spoke with the family about the help one family needs and an exclusive look at their devastation.

As WALB crews walked inside the home, we had to constantly wipe off our camera lens because the fog from the fire still remains. But the biggest thing that remains is the ruins of all their possessions and fond memories.

“My car was filled with stuff. My house was filled with stuff and it’s just a lot of money a lot of valuables gone. It just went up in flames,” said Patricia Jefferson, victim and owner of the home.

Charcoaled pieces and the smell of flames still very present at this home on Mississippi Avenue.

“It’s more like a memory lane of the things we used to have and the things we used to own,” said Stephen Thomas, son of Jefferson.

This devastation from a fire has caused Thomas and his mom Jefferson to have a new reality.

“It’s just like a devastating feeling. I just feel like we took a huge loss here. Like nothing here is the same,” said Thomas.

Albany Police said an unknown suspect starting this fire in Jefferson’s car--is what led to this destruction of all their prized possessions. She doesn’t want to be seen on camera as her body is still in shock.

“I’m somewhat numb. I just try to keep my mind on the most important thing, is that we all got out with our lives,” said Jefferson.

They're alive, but everything inside now dark and dead.

“We lost a washer, dryer and we lost our living room set. We lost my furniture. It’s just sad,” said Thomas.

They only lived here for six months, but in a big state of help, as a lifetime of memories are all faded away.

“What we need is like the main essentials of the house. Washer, dryer, a little furniture and what not. Anything helps. Anything,” said Thomas.

The community has been rallying around this family to restore small fractions of their losses.

“They actually all pitched in, in a way. And I thank them for it. I really do,” said Thomas.

But still, they’re now forced to start life over again.

“The only thing that I can smell is just burnt history. Burnt history,” said Thomas.

Now the family has found a place to stay, but need new items and funds for their new home.

They have a GoFundMe account under Yalunda Jefferson’s name. Jefferson is the niece and cousin of the victims.

The family said, if you see any other GoFundMe accounts, be aware as they only have one officially.

RED CROSS ASSISTANCE DURING TRAGEDY

The American Red Cross said both families from the fire are on the path to recovery with their help.

The organization has been providing immediate assistance through housing, emergency kits, and meals for the last couple of days.

Red Cross Representatives said both the families are now in permanent housing, with the help of their landlord.

But the Red Cross disaster program manager said they’re still on a long road to recovery.

“The apartment company has helped them back into a new home already. So now what they’re trying to do is go through the Salvation Army. We sent them a referral through the Salvation Army to try to help them get furniture,” said Guillermo Cornavaca, Disaster Program Manager with the American Red Cross.

The disaster program manager said they will be closing both cases soon.

However, they’re encouraging folks to donate to both families directly.

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