An Athens family loses everything in kitchen fire

Athens Fire Department says the fire started from the stove.

Posted: Apr 24, 2019 5:33 PM
Updated: Apr 25, 2019 5:25 PM

UPDATE: (4/25/19 at 4:45 p.m.) Selestine’s family has confirmed the Athens grandmother passed away Thursday afternoon. 

A family friend's employer is collecting clothing and food for the family. Donations can be dropped off at Touchdown Wings in Athens at 935 U.S. Highway 72 East.

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An Athens grandmother is being treated for burns Wednesday night, after being rescued from a house fire.

That fire started late last night at a home on Acorn Circle when family members were cooking.

Five people made it out safely, and the grandmother was airlifted to Vanderbilt.

WAAY 31 was in Athens talking to the family about their terrifying ordeal.

The house is a loss, the roof is burned and the windows are busted out. Everything inside is torched, but the mother said she's just glad everyone's alive.

"I'm so thankful. God knows I'm thankful, because they say it could have been worse the way it was," said Andrea, the homeowner.

Andrea said she was home with with her mother, two teenage sons, her 4-year-old niece and a friend when her stove caught fire.

She said it all happened within minutes, and she's thankful to the Athens Fire Department for working so fast to get her sleeping mother out.

"They did a wonderful job, because they got her out, and she was still breathing," she said.

Firefighters told WAAY 31 they broke through a window to drag Selestine to safety.

Chief Bryan Thornton said his men took a big risk by going in the house, because the fire was so large. He said, in seconds, their hard hats were starting melt.

"They made conscious choices last night, and they took risks that you know going in as a firefighter that probably you're going to have to take," said Chief Bryan Thornton, from Athens Fire Department.

Andrea said she's not sure where she'll go from here, but she know's everything will work out.

Everything she has, including her own cell phone, is burned.

"I have to, you know, get stuff in place and start all over," said Andrea.

Chief Thornton says the fire is a reminder about how quickly a cooking accident can get out of hand, and why you should never leave an occupied stove unattended.

"It does not take no time at all for grease to heat up and flame up," said Thornton.

Chief Thornton said if there is a fire with grease do not throw water on it. He says baking soda will quickly extinguish the flames.

The family told WAAY 31 their grandmother has opened her eyes, and they believe she will be okay.

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